Scots urged not to get distracted by lockdown messages from elsewhere in UK


Nicola Sturgeon has urged people to "try to not get distracted" by messages from other parts of the UK as she stressed the message in Scotland is to stay at home.

The First Minister said Scots "shouldn't be going out except for essential purposes" with the only change the removal of the once a day limit on exercise, as she announced the death toll among people who have tested positive for coronavirus in Scotland has risen by five to 1,862.

Her position differs from changes to lockdown restrictions announced by Boris Johnson on Sunday evening.

The UK Government has revealed a "stay alert" message and said anyone who cannot work from home should be "actively encouraged to go to work" in England unless they have coronavirus symptoms or are particularly vulnerable.

Speaking at the Scottish Government's daily coronavirus briefing, Ms Sturgeon said: "I want to reiterate those announcements do not apply yet here in Scotland.

"That is not, let me stress, for any political reason, it is because the Scottish Government is not yet confident these changes can be made safely in Scotland yet without running the risk of the virus potentially running out of control again.

"So Scotland's lockdown restrictions remain in place for now."

She said moving at different speeds in different parts of the UK on lockdown rules based on good evidence "need not be a cause for confusion" but added "never has the duty on political leaders to communicate clearly been greater".

Ms Sturgeon said the "very minor change" to enable exercise more than once a day does not allow people to sunbathe or have a picnic.

"It doesn't give people a licence to meet up at the park or at the beach," she said.

Ms Sturgeon added: "We do not at this point want to see more businesses opening up, more people going to work, we do not yet want to see more people using public transport and we are not yet changing who can or should be at school."

She highlighted the "tragic story" reported in The Glasgow Times of Andy Leaman, from Castlemilk in Glasgow, whose mother, father and father-in-law have died with Covid-19 in recent weeks, meaning his daughter has lost three of her grandparents.

"Their story is heartbreaking, it is heartbreaking for them," Ms Sturgeon said.

"But what all of us should reflect on is it could be any one of us."

She urged some caution over the death toll in Scotland due to the way deaths are registered over the weekend, saying they "can be particularly low following a Sunday".

She said 13,627 people have now tested positive for the virus in Scotland, a rise of 141 from 13,486 the day before.

There are 1,453 people in hospital with confirmed or suspected Covid-19, down 31 from 1,484 the previous day.

Of these patients, 80 are in intensive care, a fall of two.