Scottish lockdown easing 'likely' to be delayed by three weeks from June 28

Credit: PA

The Scottish Government is likely to postpone the planned move to Level 0 of coronavirus restrictions on June 28 for three weeks, Nicola Sturgeon has announced.

In a statement at the Scottish Parliament, the First Minister said caution is needed to provide extra time to push ahead with vaccinations.

She said: "Given the current situation - and the need to get more people fully vaccinated before we ease up further - it is reasonable to indicate now that I think it unlikely that any part of the country will move down a level from June 28.

Sturgeon's announcement comes after UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson confirmed most Covid-19 restrictions in England's will remain in place for another four weeks, delaying the planned June 21 unlocking until July 19.

"Instead, it is likely that we will opt to maintain restrictions for a further three weeks from June 28 and use that time to vaccinate - with both doses - as many more people as possible.

"Doing that will give us the best chance, later in July, of getting back on track and restoring the much greater normality that we all crave."

She said the decision would be confirmed at Holyrood next week, following a planned review of the current levels.

Credit: PA

Earlier, Scottish Government figures indicated Scotland has recorded two coronavirus deaths and 974 new cases in the past 24 hours.

It brings the death toll under this measure, of people who first tested positive for the virus within the previous 28 days, to 7,683.

The daily positivity rate was 5%, down from 5.2% the previous day, according to figures published by the Scottish Government on Tuesday.

There were 137 people in hospital on Monday with recently confirmed Covid-19, up from 128 on Sunday.

Seventeen people were in intensive care, no change on the day before.

So far 3,531,461 people have received the first dose of a Covid vaccination and 2,470,181 have received their second dose.

However, the Scottish Government said that Public Health Scotland experienced IT issues which had an impact on the extraction of vaccination data on June 15.

It said Tuesday's figures may be an underestimate, and any missing data will be reported in tomorrow's figures.

A total of 248,515 people have now tested positive .

The First Minister made the announcement at Holyrood today Credit: ITV News

Nicola Sturgeon has acknowledged the possibility of Scotland not moving to Level 0 restrictions on June 28 is "difficult and frustrating" for everyone.

The First Minister said: "I know the current situation is difficult and frustrating for everyone.

"We all want to see the back of all restrictions as soon as possible.

"However, while this setback is not easy, it is worth remembering that we are living under far fewer restrictions now than was the case a few weeks ago.

"The current situation is not what any of us want - but equally it is not lockdown. And vaccination is - with every day that passes - helping us change the game."

Labour south of Scotland MSP Colin Smyth said of the First Minister's announcement: “Having lived with tough restrictions for the past 15 months, many people will be disappointed with the First Minister’s announcement that we’re delaying a move to level 0.

“I know a lot of people are frustrated at some of the contradictions in the rules.

“Parents can’t watch their kids from a safe distance at a school sports day outside but 6,000 people a day can watch the Euros in a fanzone in Glasgow.

“In particular, there will be many people planning weddings in the summer with the hope of being in level 0 and being able to invite more guests. I hope the Government will consider at least allowing such events to take place with the extended capacity by asking guests to carry out a test ahead of the event.

“While the Covid-19 pandemic is first and foremost a health crisis, it is also a terrible economic crisis which will continue for a long time to come.

“The UK and Scottish Government need to get their act together and ensure support is in place to get local firms through the coming months.”