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Nicola Sturgeon Covid update: Level 0 move confirmed but First Minister urges caution

Nicola Sturgeon has confirmed Scotland will move to Level 0 of Covid lockdown restrictions from July 19 in her update, but with some changes to previous plans.

In an update to the Scottish Parliament on Tuesday, the First Minister confirmed the change but emphasised the need for caution.

She said coronavirus mitigations like face masks would continue for some time to come, even under Level 0 rules.

‘Continued caution’

Nicola Sturgeon also urged Scots eligible for a vaccine to make sure they receive one, describing it as the “single most important thing” people could do.

She added: “Lifting all restrictions and mitigations right now would put all of us at greater risk – but in particular it would make it much more difficult for the most clinically vulnerable to go about their normal lives.”

What are the Level 0 lockdown rules?

Level 0 is described as being as close to normal as possible, but some changes have been made to previous plans.

  • A maximum of 200 people will be able to gather at funerals and weddings
  • Groups of up to eight people from four households will be able to meet inside a home and stay overnight
  • Up to 10 people from eight households can meet in a public space like a restaurant. These venues will have to close at midnight.
  • There will be no need to book two-hour slots in hospitality venues as there is under Level 2.
  • Up to 15 people from 15 households outdoors.

In public places indoors, the physical distance requirement will be one metre. Outdoors, there will be no requirement to distance inside groups of 15.

End to working from home delayed

Level 0 rules had intended to see a return to offices, but Nicola Sturgeon said the government would continue to ask employers to support home working as a precautionary measure.

‘We will not abandon you’

Nicola Sturgeon said that despite easing restrictions, the government would support those who feel anxious about the change.

She told Scots: “The decisions I am setting out today show that – despite the impact of Delta – vaccination is allowing us to continue easing restrictions, albeit cautiously.

“That will be a relief to the vast majority. But it will be a source of anxiety to some.”

Ms Sturgeon added: I know that many of you feel anxious about any easing of restrictions – particularly if you cannot have the vaccine, or have conditions, or are on treatments, that suppress your immune system.

“The Scottish Government is very aware of that. We will not abandon you. For as long as necessary we will ask people to take sensible precautions – like the wearing of face coverings – to allow you, like everyone else, to enjoy more normal life again.”

New Covid cases confirmed in Scotland

It came as 2,529 new cases of coronavirus were confirmed in Scotland, including 103 in Dundee and 166 in Fife.

Just over 500 people were in hospitals in Scotland as of Monday, whilst 41 were receiving treatment in intensive care units.

Four more deaths were also registered, taking the death toll to 7,761.

Face masks will continue for some time, Nicola Sturgeon said

Nicola Sturgeon said the pressure on the NHS as a result of the recent increase in cases we of concern.

She also said the current level should be taken seriously due to the risk of long Covid.

Saying experts do not currently understand the condition, the First Minister said we do know it can “cause misery”.

“To say that it doesn’t matter – when we don’t yet fully understand what the long term consequences might be – would risk treating them as an experiment.

It won’t surprise anybody to hear that I don’t think we should do that,” Ms Sturgeon said.

Coronavirus in Scotland – track the spread in these charts and maps