Coronavirus lockdown could be eased in Scotland from end of month
Lockdown measures in Scotland could be eased within days of May 28, Nicola Sturgeon has announced.
The First Minister said if progress against the virus continues, people might be able to meet up with someone from another household, visit garden centres and participate in some sports.
Speaking at the latest Scottish Government coronavirus briefing in Edinburgh, Ms Sturgeon said 2,105 patients have died in Scotland after testing positive for coronavirus, up two from 2,103 on Sunday.
She issued a note of caution over the death figures, saying although these can be registered at the weekend, registrations tend to be lower.
The First Minister said there are 1,427 patients in hospital with confirmed or suspected Covid-19, up 119 from 1,308 on Sunday.
Of these, 63 are in intensive care, a rise of four.
Ms Sturgeon said a “route map” will be published on Thursday for the path out of lockdown in Scotland.
She said the reproduction rate of the virus will be outlined, along with taking into account the findings of the weekly National Records of Scotland (NRS) report.
If progress is made in reducing the spread of the virus, the First Minister said changes to lockdown restrictions could made after the next review date, May 28.
The First Minister said: “Within a few days of that, we will aim to allow, for example, more outdoor activity such as being able to sit in the park, meet up outdoors with someone from another household as long as you stay socially distant, some limited outdoor sporting activities like golf and fishing, the opening of garden centres and recycling facilities, and the resumption of some outdoor work.”
She said more information will also be given about when schools might reopen.
Ms Sturgeon told the briefing: “Within two weeks, my hope is that we will be taking some concrete steps on the journey back to normality.
“As I’ve said before, it won’t be normality as we knew it because the virus will not have gone away but it will be a journey to a better balance – I hope – than the one we have today.
“As we take each step, we must make sure that the ground beneath us is as solid as possible.
“That’s why sticking with the lockdown restrictions a bit longer to suppress the virus more is so important because that will mean we can start to take these steps with the confidence that we have alternative means of effectively keeping it under control.”
The First Minister said for the moment there is no change to the lockdown advice currently being circulated by the Scottish Government.
She also announced an expansion in testing to anyone over the age of five with any of the symptoms.
Appointments for these tests can be booked online and will be available at the drive-in centres across the country, or through any of the mobile testing centres.
Key workers will still be prioritised for the tests, Ms Sturgeon confirmed.
Meanwhile, referencing the recent change to include the loss of taste or smell in coronavirus symptoms, she said this should now be a reason for people to self-isolate.