During her statement to Holyrood, Nicola Sturgeon also revealed that a possible – although still unconfirmed – further case of the P1 variant in Scotland has now been identified. She said it involves an individual who travelled to Scotland from Rio de Janeiro, via Paris, arriving on 19 February, that the individual followed the procedures for managed self-isolation, and there was currently no reason to believe that the case presents any risk to the wider community.
Sturgeon also said that invitations to vaccination appointments will start to be issued this week for people aged 50 to 59, with vaccinations for those aged between 55 and 59 starting in the week beginning 15 March, and with those aged 50 to 54 starting to receive their injections the week after that.
Sturgeon announces changes to rules on outdoor mixing in Scotland
Nicola Sturgeon has announced some limited changes to outdoor mixing in Scotland, in particular for teenagers, as she told the public that “we can’t afford to take foot off the brake too soon” if Scotland is to enjoy a “much more normal summer”.
From Friday, up to four adults from up to two households will be able to meet outdoors, and this will be allowed for meetings for social and recreational purposes, as well as exercise.
For 12 to 17-year-olds, outdoor meetings will also be limited to a maximum of four people, but the two-household limit won’t apply, which means four friends from four different families will be able to get together in a public outside space or private garden.
From Friday, outdoor non-contact sports and organised group exercise will be permitted for all adults, in groups of up to 15 people, and there will also be flexibility around the travel rules for young people – so that children are not prevented from taking part in sport, if for example they belong to a club which is a bit outside their local authority area.
Sturgeon said that, with almost 40% of Scottish adult population now having received the first dose of the vaccine, studies showed this was reducing transmission rates as well as illness and death. She said her government had “increasing confidence” that as more and more people acquire some protection through vaccination she would be able to ease restrictions without the R number going above 1 again.
Sturgeon prefaced her announcements by branding the scenes of Rangers fans celebrating in crowds across Glasgow at the weekend in breach of current restrictions as “disgraceful and selfish”. She said that the changes were only possible “because of the hard sacrifices that the majority of people across the country continue to make each and every day”.
She told MSPs:
Let me at the outset acknowledge, and be clear that I share, the anger and despair that the vast majority of people – including, I am sure, the majority of football fans – felt at the weekend towards crowds of supporters flagrantly breaching rules that the rest of us are following every day at great personal cost.
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