Scotland should “look seriously at social and economic reform” in its planning for recovery from the coronavirus pandemic, Nicola Sturgeon has said.
The First Minister said the virus has fundamentally changed everyday life but has given an opportunity to shape a different kind of future.
Stressing that lockdown measures are vital to suppress the spread of coronavirus, and could continue in their current form beyond this three-week period, she called on people to work together to develop ways Scotland can emerge stronger from the crisis.
Writing in the Herald on Sunday, she said: “When things come apart – when the kaleidoscope of our lives is shaken – there is an opportunity to see them put back together differently, and see a new way of doing things.
“And we can start to think together, and work together, to decide the kind of Scotland we want to emerge from this crisis.
“We still all face major challenges. Challenges in navigating the uncertainties that the virus has created, as well as rebuilding our economy and public services.
“But we can go further than rebuilding, and look seriously at social and economic reform.”
She added: “I am confident we can start to begin considering our futures with optimism because this crisis has taught us how we can achieve rapid results under the most demanding circumstances.”
Earlier this week, as the Scottish Government published a paper setting out a framework for how lockdown measures could be eased in the future, Ms Sturgeon warned people must adapt to a new reality and said some restrictions to prevent spread could be in place until the end of the year or beyond.
The latest Health Protection Scotland daily figures published on Saturday indicate 1,231 people have died after testing positive for Covid-19, but the true death toll is likely to be higher as statistics from the National Records of Scotland covering all deaths linked to the virus as of Sunday April 19 was 1,616.
Across the country, 10,051 people had tested positive for the virus by Saturday.