/Very likely that lockdown will continue beyond Thursday, Sturgeon warns

Very likely that lockdown will continue beyond Thursday, Sturgeon warns

Lockdown is very likely to continue beyond this week with very little being relaxed
Nicola Sturgeon says the ‘R’ rate remains too high for ‘meaningful’ change (Picture: 10 Downing Street/PA)

Nicola Sturgeon has said it is ‘very likely’ that the coronavirus lockdown will continue in Scotland beyond a scheduled review on Thursday.

Prime Minster Boris Johnson is due to set out a new strategy on how the lockdown will be eased following a review of the current arrangements. 

Speaking at her daily briefing, Ms Sturgeon said the infection rate is still too high to make ‘any meaningful change’ and that she would be asking Scots to stick with the measures for ‘a bit longer’.

She revealed a total of 1,576 patients have died in Scotland after testing positive for coronavirus, up by five from 1,571 yesterday. The First Minister said 12,226 people have now tested positive for the virus, up by 169 from 12,097 the day before. There are 99 people in intensive care with coronavirus or coronavirus symptoms and a total of 1,720 people are in hospital with the virus.

Since March 5, 2,780 people who have tested positive for coronavirus have been able to leave hospital.

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Ms Sturgeon said although ‘real and significant progress’ is being made, the rate of reproduction (‘R’) of the virus is still too high to relax lockdown measures.

She said some work on a potential transition from lockdown will be published in the coming days and while work would be done to ensure there is alignment with the rest of the UK, divergence in measures could still be possible.

The First Minister added that she wants to be delivering a daily briefing ‘in a few weeks’ saying the measures are being eased.

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

Yesterday, Cabinet Minister Michael Gove said the British government strategy would be laid out on Sunday, though the measures are set to be reviewed before that, on Thursday.

Meanwhile, First Minister Ms Sturgeon also outlined the Scottish Government’s test, trace, isolate (TTI) strategy, which she said will aid the easing of the lockdown measures.

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

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

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

The First Minister said the Scottish Government is not building its strategy around the app and it will need the confidence of the public to be successful.

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