Lockdown will continue until end of February

Decision on whether restrictions can be eased in early March will be taken in a fortnight

THE current lockdown restrictions in place across mainland Scotland and several of the islands will remain in place until at least the end of February, the first minister has confirmed.

Speaking in the Scottish Parliament this afternoon (2nd February) Nicola Sturgeon said the cabinet had decided that “the current lockdown, including the ‘stay at home except for essential purposes’ requirement, does have to remain in place until at least the end of February”.

However, she said that she is “cautiously optimistic” that the Scottish Government “may be able to begin looking towards a careful and gradual easing around the start of March”.

There will be an update on when restrictions can begin to be eased in two weeks.

For the time being Sturgeon said that, although COVID-19 hospital admissions in this current ‘wave’ of infections appear to have peaked in mid-January, “the situation does continue to be fragile”.

“Case numbers still remain higher now than they were in the week before Christmas,” she said.

“That means that if we were to ease restrictions too quickly there is a real risk that infections would rise again very quickly. That risk is, of course, increased by the fact that the new variant of COVID – which is more infectious – now accounts for, we estimate, around 73% of new cases.”