Scotland’s Covid-19 lockdown will not be eased for another three weeks, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has warned, saying that more people must be vaccinated against the virus first.
Under the government’s five-tier plan, all areas had been set to enter ‘Level 0’ from June 28, meaning the complete return of the hospitality sector and some large-scale public events.
But on Tuesday Sturgeon told MSPs it is “unlikely that any part of the country” will see restrictions eased on that date, with Level 0 not set to kick in until “later in July.”
“We need to buy sufficient time for vaccination to get ahead and stay ahead of the virus, and that is the reason for caution at this juncture,” Sturgeon said in a speech from Holyrood.
The government will make a formal decision on whether to postpone Scotland’s lockdown easing next week.
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Sturgeon suggested a delay in lifting restrictions was “reasonable” given that only around 55% of adults are fully vaccinated.
Scotland has been hit by a rise in Covid-19 infections throughout May caused by the Delta variant of the virus, which was first detected in India.
A further 974 cases and another two deaths due to the virus were reported on Monday.
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Just a day earlier, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that the next and final step of England’s lockdown easing will be delayed by four weeks until July 19, amid an increase in Covid admissions to hospital intensive care units.
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