Sturgeon reiterates need to be cautious to avoid coronavirus second wave

Scotland’s First Minister has warned against a reckless approach to leaving lockdown as she pointed to Covid-19 spikes in China, Germany and South Korea.

Speaking during the Scottish Government’s daily coronavirus briefing, Nicola Sturgeon announced no new deaths from the virus have been recorded in the last 24 hours – the fifth time the figures has stayed the same since the pandemic began.

But she stressed the need not to be complacent in dealing with the virus.

A total of 2,472 people have died in Scotland after testing positive for Covid-19.

Some 18,170 people have now tested positive for the virus in Scotland, up 14 from 18,156 on Sunday.

There are 867 people in hospital with confirmed or suspected Covid-19, an increase of 66 on Sunday, while 15 people are in intensive care, down by one.

Ms Sturgeon said: “The virus hasn’t gone away, there are already countries – China and Germany, for example, that are right now dealing with spikes in cases as a result of significant outbreaks.

“And health officials in South Korea have said they think the country is now experiencing a second wave.”

She added: “I know that when numbers of cases and deaths here are continuing to fall it is very tempting for all of us to think it is all over and we should just now quickly get back to normal.

“We are trying to get back to normal and we want to do that as quickly as possible but let me reiterate my strong view that acting recklessly now would be a serious mistake.

“We must continue to be cautious and all of us must continue to adhere strictly to the public health advice.

“That will help us continue progress and avoid a resurgence of the virus now.”

Ms Sturgeon said Scotland is making good progress in tackling coronavirus, adding she intends to set out more indicative dates when lockdown measures could be eased later in the week.

The First Minister spoke after receiving a report from the Scottish Government’s expert advisory group on economic recovery.

It was set up in April to provide recommendations on “how best to restore the economy to sustainable and inclusive growth as we bring the Covid pandemic under greater control”, Ms Sturgeon said.

She said the Scottish Government established the group because ministers knew tackling coronavirus would cause “significant economic harm”.

Ms Sturgeon said: “Our initial focus has had to be on protecting peoples lives, obviously, and on providing immediate lifeline support to keep businesses afloat and people employed.

“But as the pandemic does come under more control, our efforts must increasingly focus on how the economy recovers and renews itself for the long-term.”

She said the report makes 25 “substantial” recommendations, covering areas such as investment, employment, skills and the future of the care sector.

The Scottish Government will respond in detail to the report before the end of July, Ms Sturgeon added.

She said the report is a “serious and substantive piece of work” and ministers agree with its basic principles.

Benny Higgins, chairman of the advisory group, also spoke at the briefing.

He said his report is call to action to “all of us in Scotland”.

“There has never been in our lifetimes a more important time to collaborate across our society to pursue a collective national endeavour,” he said.

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