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Scottish government announces lockdown easing

TESTING will be key to further easing of lockdown restrictions, the Scottish government was told today as it announced that people were to be allowed to meet again with members of other households.

The first of four planned stages of changes to Scotland’s restrictions, which come into force tomorrow, had been made possible because a downward trend in the spread of the virus was “sustained and unmistakable,” First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said.

Ms Sturgeon stressed that people should continue to socially distance when meeting members of another household outdoors, adding that there should be no more than eight in any group.

People will also be permitted to travel away from their home for leisure activities such as sunbathing and sport.

Ms Sturgeon said there were 19,000 infectious cases of the virus as of last week, and thanked people in Scotland for good compliance with lockdown measures to date.

She said the changes were an “important first steps back to some kind of normality,” but warned that they were not risk-free.

Labour and trade-union leaders said the Test and Protect system, which is now in place, must be used effectively. 

Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard said: “For there to be confidence in the system, there must be assurances from the government that all the testing capacity available is fully used. This hasn’t been the case so far.”

The Scottish TUC’s Roz Foyer added: “This system will only be effective if workers have confidence and employment security. 

“We are calling on the government to do all it can to impress upon employers that there must be no work-related disincentives to workers fully complying with Test and Protect.” 

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