Sturgeon announces further easing of lockdown in Scotland from May 17

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Sturgeon announces further easing of lockdown in Scotland from May 17
Sturgeon announces further easing of lockdown in Scotland from May 17

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has announced an easing of lockdown in Scotland from May 17.

Much of the mainland will be moved into Level 2 from Monday, meaning pubs and restaurants can open for indoor trading and people can hug again.

But with the “highly probable exception” of Moray, which has seen a spike in Covid cases, she said.

The country will also introduce a traffic light system for foreign travel, similar to England’s.

The First Minister said this afternoon at the coronavirus briefing in Edinburgh that social distancing during meetings indoors or in private gardens will be dropped.

Six people from three households will be able to meet indoors.

Cinemas, theatres, comedy clubs, amusement arcades and bingo halls can open.

“I actually feel a wee bit emotional saying this, from Monday, as long as you stay within permitted limits, you can hug your loved ones again,” she said.

But the First Minister emphasised it remains “vital to be cautious”, saying that dropping social distancing will be reviewed for all situations in the coming weeks.

Caution should also be used where a vulnerable person is involved, she added.

Latest figures show no deaths from the virus and 200 new cases having been recorded in Scotland in the past 24 hours.

Ms Sturgeon put the dip down to the “huge success” of the vaccination programme along with compliance with restrictions.

In the last three weeks, the First Minister said, case numbers have dropped from an average of 226 per day to 177 per day.

However, a very slight increase across the country has been logged, mainly due to the outbreak in Moray, the First Minister said.

“The situation in Moray, together with the emergence of new variants globally, should be a sharp reminder to all of us that the virus remains a real threat,” the First Minister said.

She went on to say Scotland will move to a traffic light system for international travel.

“We consider that the situation now allows us to believe a careful move away from blanket restrictions on non-essential travel overseas,” the First Minister said at the coronavirus briefing on Tuesday.

From Monday, managed isolation will still be needed for countries on the “red list” while a 10-day period of self-isolation with two PCR tests will be needed for amber list countries and those arriving from green list countries will be required to take a test when they arrived, but will not need to self-isolate if they do not have the virus.

While green list status should be the “exception not the rule”, 12 countries and territories will be on the list from the start of the initiative, including Iceland, the Faroe Islands, New Zealand and Australia.

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