Sturgeon unveils plans for easing Scotland’s Covid restrictions

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Scotland’s schools are expected to fully reopen in early April, with some household mixing allowed, after Nicola Sturgeon unveiled a partial route map to lifting the country’s strict Covid controls.

In a statement to Holyrood, the first minister confirmed Scotland’s lockdown would remain in place for at least six weeks, with the stay-at-home rule enforced until 5 April at the earliest.

UK Covid live: Sturgeon says ‘vaccine passports’ worth considering if they can ‘give us greater normality’

She did not expect non-essential shops, or outdoor bars and restaurants, would be allowed to reopen until late April, the date at which the government expected to move to regional or local lockdown levels.

Sturgeon told MSPs the priority was to suppress the virus, with the goal of virtually eliminating it from the community, and that meant she would take a very precautionary approach to lifting the lockdown.

She said the vaccination programme in Scotland was “motoring”, with nearly 1.5 million people having received their first dose, with all nine priority groups expected to be vaccinated by mid-April, a few weeks earlier than originally forecast.

Even so, until transmission rates were much lower and the vaccination programme completed, caution was needed…

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