First Minister Nicola Sturgeon reveals possible future easing of coronavirus lockdown in the next fortnight; road map for easing of Covid-19 restrictions to be released on Thursday, but public warned that easing of lockdown will depend entirely on infection rate
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FIRST Minister Nicola Sturgeon has said Scotland is hopefully gearing up for the biggest relaxation of the lockdown yet.
The full "roadmap" will be released on Thursday, outlining the phases involved in coming out of lockdown, though without specific target dates.
Ms Sturgeon said the most likely time for any easing of the lockdown would be at the next review date, on May 28.
That will take account of the up-to-date estimates of the transmission rate or R number, the number of cases and the latest National Records of Scotland report on deaths from Covid-19.
If sufficient progress is made a number of activities could then be permitted within a few days of the review date, including:
- Outdoor activity such as sitting in the park
- Meeting someone from another household outdoors while observing social distancing measures
- Some limited outdoor sporting activities like golf and fishing
- The opening of garden centres and recycling facilities and the resumption of some outdoor work
At today's briefing Ms Sturgeon also gave details of new symptoms people should be aware of as a potential sign of Covid-19 infection.
Anyone who notices a loss of, or change in, their sense of smell or taste should now self-isolate for seven days while other members of their household should stay at home for 14 days.
The First Minister also announced an expansion of the number of people who can be tested for Covid-19, with everyone over the age of fivedisplaying symptoms now eligible for testing, with priority being given to key workers.
She said: “It will help more people to know if they have the virus and it will also be very helpful as we build towards a strategy of test, trace, isolate and support – something that, as you know, will be especially important as we start to emerge gradually from the lockdown.
On the "roadmap" to be issued on Thursday she said: “Like other countries, we will not yet be able to put dates on all of the different phases, because timings must be driven by data and evidence.
"It will also be important that we assess the impact of measures in one phase before moving on to another.
"We will continue to take a cautious approach that ensures the virus is suppressed to restore as much normality as possible when it is safe to do so, however Thursday’s route map will confirm that, assuming that we see progress in suppressing the virus, the first phase will start from the next formal review date of May 28.
"Within a few days of that we will aim to allow, for example, 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.
"This first phase will coincide with our ability to start on a phased basis a substantial test, trace and isolate operation to help us keep the infection under control as we start to ease up these restrictions.
"Thursday’s route map will also set out an up-to-date assessment of a phased return to school as guided by the considerations of the education recovery group.
"And from Thursday onwards we will have to set out guidance for key industries on the changes they will need to make to ensure that their employees and customers are safe in advance of further changes, as well as setting out advice on travel and transport.
"So, within two weeks my hope is that we will be taking some concrete steps on the journey back to a form of normality.
"As I said before it won't be normality exactly 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."
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