| 18 April 2024, Thursday |

Scotland’s “Stay at home” rule to be lifted

Scotland has lifted the “stay at home’ rule which has been in place in for more than three months. People have been told to “stay local” and to remain within their local authority boundaries for the next three weeks.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said the vaccination program’s progress had been “better than we could have dared hope for back at the turn of the year”.

However, she also warned that there were “no grounds for complacency”.

She said: “It is really important right now that while the vaccination program continues to be rolled out, all of us remain hyper-vigilant in how we’re going about our daily lives.”

He said: “While Easter weekend is traditionally a time for visiting friends and family, I would urge people to stay local and follow the regulations on gatherings.

“If you are visiting beauty spots within your local area, do so safely and respectfully – leaving no trace of your visit. Please also park responsibly to allow emergency access.”

Police in Edinburgh also said increased patrols would continue following a spate of anti-social behavior incidents on or near public transport.

The latest estimates suggest that the R number, which measures the reproduction rate of the virus, is still at between 0.8 and 1 in Scotland.

An average of 505 cases were reported per day in the last week, a fall of 7% on the previous seven days.

The number of weekly cases per 100,000 people has fallen from 302 on 8 January to 66 in the week ending 28 March, similar to the rates seen last September.

The proportion of people becoming infected in Scotland is currently above England and Wales but below Northern Ireland, according to the latest ONS survey.

Prof Nick Hopkins, who sits on the Scottish government’s Covid-19 advisory group, told the BBC’s Good Morning Scotland program there was “a lot to be optimistic about”.

He said: “The vaccine rollout gives us enormous cause for hope, but hope is not the same as wishful thinking.

“We need to recognize that there is still a reality out there and we need to be very mindful of those risks and continue to be careful, to monitor our behavior, to follow the guidelines.”

The University of Dundee psychology professor also said the move to “stay local” was very positive.

Prof Hopkins added: “It really does send out the signal that the sacrifices that people have made over the last year, and it’s been a long, long year, are actually getting us where we need to be.”

Further easing of restrictions in Scotland from Monday will enable barbers, hairdressers, car showrooms, homeware shops and garden centers to reopen.

Shops will be allowed to resume click and collect services.