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First Minister warns of few changes to come on lockdown tomorrow; focus will be on reopening schools

By Scott Maclennan

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First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.

The First Minister has warned that the government’s focus over the next three weeks is the safe reopening of schools – with little scope for further relaxation of the lockdown before then.

She gave the warning at today's Scottish Government coronavirus briefing ahead of the required periodic review of restrictions due to be announced tomorrow.

She also warned people to expect fluctuations from week to week in the number of Covid-19 deaths confirmed because of the very low numbers of people currently dying from the virus.

Figures from the National Records of Scotland earlier today showed two more deaths registered in the past seven days.

She said a "possible cluster of cases" was being investigated in the Greater Glasgow and Clyde health board area after 14 out of 22 new positive cases identified in the past 24 hours were confirmed there.

“Today's National Records of Scotland report shows that the total number of deaths registered with either a confirmed or presumed link to the virus was 4201.

"Of those, eight were registered in seven days up to Sunday, an increase of two from the week before.

“Obviously any increase in deaths at however small it might be is regrettable and very unwelcome but when we have very low levels as thankfully we do right now, fluctuation is to be expected.

“These figures are a reminder of the continuing impact of the pandemic and of the fact that despite the progress we have undoubtedly made we should never underestimate how cruel a virus this can be."

She added: “I hope that I can confirm tomorrow the pausing of shielding at the end of the month and, as you know, it is our central objective for the next three weeks to get schools back full-time from August 11.

“Ensuring that those changes can take place without raising the prevalence of the virus too far is not going to leave us very much room for many other immediate changes.

“I know that what sometimes appear to be anomalies right now about what is and what is allowed and is not allowed can be confusing.

"I would assure you that there are rational explanations for what might appear on the surface to be inconsistencies.”

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