Sturgeon to announce whether coronavirus restrictions will be eased

Nicola Sturgeon is to announce whether Scotland’s coronavirus restrictions can be eased as planned on Monday.

The First Minister has said she hopes to move the whole country to Level 0 from July 19, depending on the latest case numbers, hospital admissions and the vaccination rollout.

Level 0 would reduce the two-metre distancing rule to one metre in indoor public spaces.

Indoor gathering restrictions would be further lifted to allow up to eight people from up to three households to meet.

To view this content, you'll need to update your privacy settings.
Please click here to do so.

The 11pm closure time for pubs operating indoors will also be scrapped, with local licensing conditions applying instead.

But nightclubs and adult entertainment will have to remain shut.

July 19 is expected to be the date when all Scottish adults will have been offered their first vaccine dose as well as being three weeks on from over-50s being double jabbed.

The Scottish Parliament has been recalled from the summer recess for Ms Sturgeon’s announcement.

Last week she stressed that any additional lifting of coronavirus rules would require “care and caution” due to the record number of coronavirus cases in Scotland.

On Monday, the latest Covid-19 statistics showed 2,134 coronavirus cases were recorded in the past 24 hours, but no deaths.

A total of 469 people were in hospital on Sunday with recently confirmed Covid-19, up 24 on the previous day, with 40 patients in intensive care.

Linda Bauld
Linda Bauld said Level 0 would not be a ‘huge jump’ (Andrew Milligan/PA)

Ahead of the announcement, Edinburgh University professor of public health Linda Bauld said she expected the move to Level 0 on July 19 would go ahead.

Speaking on the BBC’s Good Morning Scotland radio programme, she said: “What the Scottish Government will want to avoid is what is happening in Europe now.

“The Netherlands has seen an over 700% increase in cases. They’ve had to close nightclubs again, put restrictions on bars and restaurants, they’ve had to cancel mass events.

“I think the Scottish Government will want to continue to move forward, but Level 0 is not a huge jump, it’s a relatively modest jump to the next stage.”

Meanwhile, another public health specialist urged the First Minister to keep the current restrictions in place for longer.

Professor Andrew Watterson of Stirling University said too few people currently had the protection of both vaccine doses.

He told the Times: “For this to be irreversible, it’s got to be cautious.

“We must rule nothing out and I’ve been very, very clear about that.

“We must protect the public and we will not hesitate to use the means that we have at our disposal.”