Scotland announces further easing of lockdown

Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced that four people from two households will be able to meet outdoors in the region from Friday, as part of the measures to further ease the Covid-19 pandemic.

Scotland had previously aimed to relax the rules on outdoor mixing on March 15, but Sturgeon has now sped up that timetable, reports Xinhua news agency.

“Strong grounds for hope” had been provided by a “significant” fall in new cases in recent weeks, along with falling numbers of deaths and hospital admissions, Sturgeon told the Scottish Parliament on Tuesday.

According to Sturgeon, meetings of groups of four from two households will be allowed to happen locally in any outdoor space, including in private gardens.

The First Minister also announced that outdoor non-contact sports and group exercise will also resume for adults in groups of up to 15 people from Friday.

Meanwhile, young people aged 12 to 17 will be able to meet outdoors in groups of up to four people from four different households.

Almost 40 per cent of Scotland’s adult population has now received the first dose of a Covid vaccine, Sturgeon noted.

However, she warned that Scotland cannot “afford to take our foot off the brake too soon”.

She revealed that a possible, albeit unconfirmed, case of the P1 variant of coronavirus, first found in Brazil, had been identified in Scotland.

“The individual followed all the procedures for managed self-isolation, and we currently have no reason to believe that this case presents any risk to the wider community… However, we are of course continuing to undertake all necessary follow-up work.”

Six cases of the P1 variant have previously been found in the UK — three in England and three in Scotland.

Since the onset of the pandemic, Scotland has reported more than 206,000 coronavirus cases and 7,441 deaths.