Nicola Sturgeon has announced that current lockdown measures have been extended until at least the end of February in order to “keep the virus under control.”
Speaking in Holyrood, the first minister set-out the next steps in Scotland’s battle plan against coronavirus by extending restrictions across the country – that could be eased by March.
She also said a phased return of schools with full-time and part-time measures in place for pupils was planned for February 22.
The first minister said she was “cautiously optimistic” that a gradual easing of the current measures could begin around the start of March.
The Scottish Government will conduct a review in two-weeks time.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said the most recent figures show the lockdown situation is working with the amount of daily Covid cases having halved.
Weekly case numbers per 100,000 of the population has also dropped from 302 to 136 from the week ending the 8th of January to this week.
Despite the decline in Covid cases, the first minister warned there is no room for complacency announcing the introduction of a managed quarantine requirement will be introduced as of today for those travelling into Scotland.
The Scottish Government said it will continue to urge UK Government to follow suit.
Ms Sturgeon regrettably said the closure of schools was “unfortunately necessary” but getting pupils back in education was an “overriding priority”.
She said she is aware of the pressure closure has placed on parents and home life.
Cabinet has decided to implement a phased and gradual return of schools from February 22. A final confirmation is to be delivered in two-weeks time.
The plan outlined by the first minister included a full-time return for early learning and childcare for children under school age, and a full-time return for all pupils in primaries 1-3.
A part-time return, on a limited basis, will be implemented for senior pupils to allow “in school practical work that is necessary for the completion of national qualification courses”.
During this, no more than 5% to 8% of a secondary school roll would be physically present in schools.
Those who work in schools and early learning facilities will be offered at home testing twice a week.
Senior secondary pupils will be offered this testing option too with it being in place “as soon as possible”, Ms Sturgeon says.
‘Path ahead does remain difficult.
Ms Sturgeon said virus mutation is of great concern and therefore urged Scots to be compliant with the lockdown restrictions reinforcing the stay at home message.
As of today, Scotland has recorded 69 deaths of coronavirus patients and 758 new cases in the past 24 hours.
The death toll under this measure – of people who first tested positive for the virus within the previous 28 days – is now 6,181.
Figures show the daily test positivity rate is 7.4%, up from 9.5% on Monday when 848 new cases were recorded.
There are 1,939 people in hospital confirmed to have Covid-19, down from 1,958 in 24 hours.
Of these, the number of patients in intensive care remains unchanged at 143.