‘Genuine danger’ Covid-19 could spread again as lockdown lifted – Sturgeon

PA Scotland Reporters

Nicola Sturgeon has warned there is a “genuine danger” that Covid-19 will begin to spread again as lockdown measures are lifted.

The First Minister said that “even as we glimpse a possible end to some lockdown restrictions” it is “more important than ever” to follow the measures that remain in place.

“As we start to lift these restrictions there is a genuine danger that the virus will start to spread again a bit more quickly,” she said.

 
“The way in which we ensure that doesn’t happen – and that way in which we enable even more restrictions to be lifted in future – is to continue to follow whatever public health guidance is in place at the time.”

Ms Sturgeon said Prime Minister Boris Johnson should come to the “same conclusion” as she did when she accepted the resignation of Scotland’s chief medical officer Dr Catherine Calderwood for breaching lockdown rules.

Asked about the Prime Minister’s aid Dominic Cummings driving from London to Durham with his young child and symptomatic wife, she said Mr Johnson should reconsider his decision.

Speaking during her daily coronavirus briefing, the First Minister said she understood that many people would have been left “angry and frustrated by stories you have heard”.

While she conceded people may be wondering “why bother” following the rules, the First Minister said: “As far as I am concerned the restrictions and rules we put in place really matter.

“It is vital that all of us stick to the rules, and not just because people like me tell you to or ask you to. The reason we ask you to stick to these rules is because they help to protect you and your loved ones, they help us protect our National Health Service and they do help us to save lives.”

She said the public had “overwhelmingly done the right thing” in lockdown.

“I know many people, parents perhaps in particular, will have made very difficult decisions,” she said.

“Grandparents will not have seen new grandchildren, parents will have struggled with childcare, and no access to friends and family to support them, and many people have been denied the opportunity to say a final farewell to loved ones.”

But she said the lockdown restrictions really matter and “it is vital that all of us stick to these rules”.

“In this crisis the way in which we have all shown love for a solidarity with each other is by staying apart from each other,” she said.

Ms Sturgeon also said the Scottish Government’s “current expectation” is that it will “announce a relaxation” of some restrictions on Thursday.

This will focus at first on outdoor activities with changes expected to come into force from Friday.

“We will give you careful information as we go through this week about what rules are changing, what measures are in place to help you and what you should be considering as you decide what you can and can’t do,” she said.

The Scottish Government will also announce more details of its “test and protect” system on Tuesday, she added, along with a plan for how public transport can operate safely while Covid-19 is still in circulation.

Ms Sturgeon said this would include the “clear expectation” that people on public transport would wear face coverings.

The First Minister also gave the latest Covid-19 figures for Scotland.

A total of 2,273 patients have died in Scotland after testing positive for coronavirus, up by three from 2,270 on Sunday.

Ms Sturgeon said 15,156 people have tested positive for the virus in Scotland, up by 55 from 15,101 the day before.

There are 1,269 people in hospital with confirmed or suspected Covid-19, a decrease of 60, and 40 people are in intensive care, a fall of four.