Scotland’s stages: how coronavirus lockdown will be eased

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Nicola Sturgeon has unveiled a “cautious and gradual” plan for how coronavirus lockdown measures will be eased in Scotland.

Unlike Boris Johnson’s “roadmap”, the “strategic framework” deliberately avoids specific dates. “If we open up too quickly to meet arbitrary dates, we risk setting our progress back,” the first minister says in a foreword to the document.

A day after the release of England’s date-heavy plan, Sturgeon said: “To set dates that are too definite now would be irresponsible. There are far too many uncertainties such as the impacts of both new variants and of the vaccinations.”

Instead Scotland’s government will implement a series of stages for easing lockdown “when the epidemiological conditions allow”. Sturgeon said the Scottish government would continue to aim to “suppress the virus to the lowest possible level and keep it there”.

But approximate dates are given in the document, and it says there will need to be a gap of at least three weeks between each stage.

Stage 1: now to early March

On Monday children between the ages of four and eight in primary years one to three returned to school, along with some senior secondary pupils who need to do practical work for qualifications and nursery-age children…

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