LiveNicola Sturgeon covid briefing RECAP: First Minister announces travel restrictions and outdoor mixing relaxations from Friday

How all the latest updates on Covid-19 in Scotland, the UK and around the world – including the surprise lifting of restrictions – unfolded.

Tuesday, 13th April 2021, 2:35 pm

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Nicola Sturgeon covid briefing LIVE: First Minister announces travel restrictions and outdoor mixing relaxations from Friday

Last updated: Tuesday, 13 April, 2021, 12:35

  • Six adults from up to six households can meet outside from Friday
  • Scots will be able to travel anywhere in the country from Friday, but cross-boarder travel is still restricted until April 26
  • FM ‘extremely confident’ those living under the current level 4 restrictions will move to level 3 from April 26

Main points raised in FM’s coronavirus statement:

FM said a reduction in prevalence of the virus meant some acceleration of planned lockdown easing was possible to support mental health and wellbeing.

She told a coronavirus briefing there had been three deaths from coronavirus and 221 positive tests in the past 24 hours.

It followed an almost seven-month low in cases on Monday, with just 199 cases.

Ms Sturgeon said that from Friday people will be able to leave their local authority area for the purposes of socialising, recreation or exercise.

Rules on gatherings will also be relaxed, with six adults from up to six households able to meet up outside.

Scotland’s current lockdown easing plan will see cafes, restaurants and beer gardens open on April 26, along with shops, gyms, libraries and museums.

Hospitality will need to close their doors at 8pm indoors and 10pm outdoors, with alcohol only allowed to be served outside.

From May 17, pubs are set to open indoors until 10:30pm and contact sports, cinemas, and some small scale events can take place.

Scots can travel anywhere in the country from Friday, says FM

Due to ‘significant progress’ FM says Scots can travel anywhere in the country from Friday, but cross-border travel is still prohibited.

She confirmed cross-boarder travel will reopen from April 26.

Six adults from up to six households can meet outside from Friday in Scotland, FM confirms

Coronavirus travel restrictions within Scotland are to be eased from Friday and six adults from up to six households will be able to meet up outside, FM said.

We expect the whole country to move to level 2 on the 17 of May and to level 1 in early June and level 0 in late June, FM says

FM says because of the promising data, Scotland can accelerate one part of its move out of lockdown for the benefit of people’s health and well-being

She said she’s ‘extremely confident’ those living under the current level 4 restrictions will move to level 3 from April 26.

This means reopening of non-essential retail and outdoor hospitality.

‘That means, amongst other things, that on that day shops will fully reopen, pubs, cafes and restaurants will also be able to fully open outdoors on April 26 and will be able to open indoors on that date, but on a restricted basis,’ she said.

For the island communities that are currently under level 3, FM said they will ‘align’ with the rules in place for the rest of the country and will move to level when the mainland is ready.

‘Lowest figures since late September last year,’ says FM

Scotland has seen a significant drop in covid cases, says FM.

She said in early January, cases averaged 2,000 each day, but now, Scotland is recording fewer than 300 cases a day.

‘This is the lowest level since last September,’ she added.

Ms Sturgeon said the success is ‘partly’ due to the vaccination programme, but also because Scots have ‘done so well’ sticking to the rules.

FM begins with giving an update on statistics

Three new deaths have been recorded in Scotland in the last 24 hours.

221 new cases have been confirmed and to date, 133 people are being treated in hospital.

FM also gave an update on vaccination figures: 2,682,706 people in Scotland have received the first dose of the vaccine and 605,126 people have received the second dose.

First Minister making her announcement now

Nicola Sturgeon is due to give her coronavirus statement any minute now

Lockdown is main reason for drop in coronavirus cases and deaths - not vaccinations, says Boris Johnson

The prime minister has warned that the reduction in coronavirus infections, hospitalisations and deaths “has not been achieved” by the rollout of covid vaccines.

Speaking after the latest easing of covid restrictions, Mr Johnson said the reduction in cases was down to the was the national lockdowns and suggested the millions of vaccines given over the past few months was not “key” to the reduction in covid levels.

He said: “The numbers are down - of infections and hospitalisations and deaths.

“But it is very, very important for everybody to understand that the reduction in these numbers - in hospitalisations and in deaths and infections - has not been achieved by the vaccination programme.

“People don’t, I think, appreciate that it’s the lockdown that has been overwhelmingly important in delivering this improvement in the pandemic and in the figures that we’re seeing.”

More test facilities set up in London boroughs after South African variant found

Extra coronavirus testing facilities are being set up in two south London boroughs after dozens of new cases of the South African variant were detected.

Lambeth Council said it is “vital” that residents get a test, whether asymptomatic or not, to help control the spread of the virus.

Some 44 confirmed cases of the variant have been found predominantly in the borough, as well as in neighbouring Wandsworth, with a further 30 probable cases identified, the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) said.

People aged 11 and over who live, work or travel through those areas are being urged to take a Covid-19 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test, on top of using twice-weekly rapid testing.

Lambeth Council said eight additional testing sites have opened across the borough from Monday and facilities are also available in Wandsworth.

First Minister is due to make an announcement at midday with Scotland’s chief medical officer Dr Gregor Smith.

Follow this blog for live updates or watch the announcement live via the Scottish Government’s twitter page.

Read more here to find out more about today’s briefing.

Edinburgh International Festival to go ahead in pop-up outdoor venues this August

The Edinburgh International Festival has revealed plans to reboot this summer by creating new open-air venues for shows.

More than 200 performances will be staged at pop-up “pavilion” venues which are being planned to give the event the best possible chance of going ahead in August.

A mix of Scottish, UK and international artists will feature in the EIF’s programme of music, theatre and opera productions.

The full line-up will be announced in the first week of June ahead of tickets going on sale later in the month.

Read more here by Brian Ferguson.

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