4th Feb 2021

Covid in Scotland Phased Return to School





Lockdown Update


1.    After giving an update on vaccinations, the First Minister confirmed that lockdown would be extended.

2.    She said that the lockdown restrictions must stay in place until at least the end of February.

3.    However, if Scotland's progress continues then the First Minister is optimistic that, as more and more people get vaccinated, and with the protection of some of additional measures, Scotland, may be able to begin looking towards a careful and gradual easing around the start of March.

4.    Nicola Sturgeon will give an update on that in two weeks' time.

5.    Nicola Surgeon says although progress is being made on controlling the virus restrictions will remain for at least the rest of the month.

6.    Pupils will begin a phased return to school from 22nd February with the youngest going back to the classroom first.

7.    Senior pupils who have practical assignments to complete will be allowed to return on a part-time basis, with no more than 8% of the school roll attending at any one time

8.    A managed quarantine requirement is to be introduced for anyone arriving directly into Scotland, regardless of which country they have come from.

9.    Ms Sturgeon says it is reasonable to ask questions about Scotland's vaccination programme as compared to other parts of the UK.

10. However, she points out that "we believe we are achieving a higher uptake of the jab than elsewhere"

11. National clinical director Jason Leith says Scotland needs to speed up its vaccination programme.


Travel Restrictions

12.  After announcing a lockdown extension, Nicola Sturgeon commented on the South African variant, and stated that five cases have been identified.

13. However, "there is no evidence of community transmission", she said.

14. With intentions of stopping any variants from spreading, the First Minister set out further travel restrictions after the UK government introduced quarantine hotels. The date of the implementation has not yet been determined.

15. She said "we now know, for example, that by early July last year, we had almost eliminated Covid in Scotland but then allowed it to be re-seeded from, in the main, overseas travel."

16. Scotland must guard against that happening again.

17. It is to that end that the four UK nations have already agreed that travellers coming into the UK from countries with a travel ban in place will be required to quarantine in hotels. Start date not yet agreed.

18. This is a necessary measure but in the Scottish Governments view, it does not go far enough.  Firstly, there should be very few people coming from countries with a ban in place anyway.

19. Second, this approach leaves open the possibility that people will travel into the UK from those countries via third countries.

20. And thirdly, an approach to managed quarantine that only incudes countries where new variants have already been identified is too reactive because often by the time a new variant has been identified through genomic sequencing it will already have spread across bords.

21. The First Minister therefore confirms we intend to introduce a managed quarantine requirement for anyone who arrives directly into Scotland, regardless of which country they have come from.

22. Obviously, we cannot stop travellers from arriving into other parts of the UK and then perhaps travelling into Scotland by train for example but we hope that the other 3 Nations of the UK will follow suit in order to reduce the pandemic.




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