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Scottish Government looking at options for lifting Covid-19 coronavirus lockdown

By Scott Maclennan

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First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has sketched out how the first stages of easing the lockdown might work, while warning it will not happen soon.

Ms Sturgeon said that though the lockdown is due to be reviewed by the UK government on Thursday there will be no relaxation yet.

Confirming longer term preparations for an easing of the measures were being made by the Scottish Government, she said that progress in tackling the virus so far was “real” but “fragile”.

On that basis she said the government is looking at various scenarios for a partial return to normality including:

  • Allowing exercise outdoors more than once a day, still limited to being with people from the same household
  • Allowing small, defined and limited groups of people from different households to meet in “bubbles”
  • Looking at the “fairness” of allowing some people out, but not those currently shielding
  • Resuming some NHS and community care services such as screening programs and non-urgent elective procedures
  • Carefully and safely allowing businesses in construction, retail and manufacturing sectors – and also some outdoor and rural businesses – to reopen
  • Allowing children to gradually return to school in different groups, part-time or in blocks of a few days or a week at a time.

She stressed that none of those measures were being implemented right now.

On schools she added: "The Deputy First Minister is chairing the education recovery group which is considering options for how people may gradually return to school.

"A return to school might not be possible at all this side of the summer holidays, but we are considering whether some groups of students such as vulnerable children, children who are making the transition from primary to secondary school or who are studying for national qualifications could return to school ahead of others.

"And any initial return to school when it does happen is, of course, likely to require a mixture of time in school and learning at home. For example, it is possible that different groups could attend school part-time in blocks of a few days or a week at a time to enable physical distancing and deep cleaning of schools between sessions."

She also revealed that there are currently estimated to be approximately 26,000 infectious people in Scotland, with the number "much too high at present to consider the virus under control".

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