Coronavirus lockdown 'very likely' to be extended further, Nicola Sturgeon says

Matilda Long
·4 min read

It is “very likely” the coronavirus lockdown will be extended when it is reviewed on Thursday, Nicola Sturgeon has said.

The UK-wide lockdown will be reviewed by the government on Thursday, six weeks after it came into force. Boris Johnson is then expected to outline to the public the road map out of lockdown this Sunday.

Sturgeon’s warning came on the same day Johnson warned that lifting lockdown restrictions too soon would be “the worst thing we could do”.

In a video message on Twitter, the Prime Minister said: “We will only be able to move onto the second phase of this conflict if our five tests have been met. The worst thing we could do now is ease up too soon and allow a second peak of coronavirus.”

The government also indicated on Monday that people could be allowed closer than two metres apart when lockdown measures are eased.

EDINBURGH, SCOTLAND - APRIL 21: Nicola Sturgeon MSP First Minister of Scotland during a special coronavirus Covid-19 social distancing First Ministers Questions at the Scottish Parliament Holyrood on April 21, 2020 in Edinburgh, United Kingdom. The British government has extended the lockdown restrictions first introduced on March 23 that are meant to slow the spread of COVID-19. (Photo by Fraser Bremner - Pool/Getty Images)
Nicola Sturgeon has said the coronavirus lockdown is likely to be extended when it is reviewed this week. (PA Images)

The Scottish first minister told a press conference the virus infection rate is still too high to safely ease restrictions. She said: “Let me stress, decisions are yet to formally be taken, it is very likely that on Thursday I will asking you to stick with lockdown for a bit longer.”

She added that “real and significant progress” has been made, and that some work on a potential transition from lockdown will be published in the coming days.

Sturgeon said work would be done to ensure there was alignment with the rest of the UK, but divergence in measures could still be possible.

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She said that some work on a potential transition from lockdown will be published in the coming days.

The government has said five tests need to be met before lockdown can be eased:

  • the NHS must have sufficient critical care capacity

  • there must be a sustained and consistent fall in daily deaths

  • the infection rate must be decreasing to “manageable levels”

  • there must be enough PPE and testing supply

  • any adjustments must not lead to a second peak which could overwhelm the health service.

Sturgeon said a total of 1,576 patients have died in Scotland after testing positive for coronavirus, up by five from 1,571 on Sunday.

The first minister said 12,226 people have now tested positive for the virus in Scotland, up by 169 from 12,097 the day before.

Sturgeon also outlined the Scottish government's test, trace, isolate (TTI) strategy, which she said would aid the easing of the lockdown measures.

She said the strategy would only work if the public adheres to it, adding it was not a "quick fix or magic solution" and would need to be done alongside current hygiene guidance.

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Sturgeon said moves were being made to deliver a TTI strategy by the end of May, with testing capacity expected to have to rise to 15,500 per day to support the approach.

Discussing the possibility of a proximity app, Sturgeon said it would work using Bluetooth technology, telling anyone who has been in contact with someone showing symptoms through an alert.

She insisted the Scottish government was not building its strategy around the app.

She added that the use of the app would need the confidence of the public, both in the use of data and in the ability of the technology to work.

Sturgeon added that the strategy was "for the future", asking people to continue to adhere to the current lockdown measures.

She added that she wanted to be delivering a daily briefing "in a few weeks", saying that the measures are being eased.

She added: "My big worry is that if we ease up now then I won't be able to do that."

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