Politics

Sturgeon faces revolt as rivals attack late restriction lifting ‘Why not do this sooner!’

Nicola Sturgeon: Harwood on 'pressure' facing First Minister

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First Minister Nicola Sturgeon will announce the next stages of Scotland’s coronavirus restrictions later today with many expecting the vast majority of level 0 rules to be lifted following the leader’s “optimistic” belief the time was safe to do so. But while England lifted all legally mandated restrictions on July 19, Scotland was moved to level 0 meaning some social distancing, mask-wearing and limits on group numbers were still enforced. Ms Sturgeon is expected to face a barrage of questioning when she attends Holyrood with critics wondering why Scotland did not lift restrictions sooner. 

Speaking on GB News, presenter Tom Harwood reported from outside Holyrood and explained what the Scottish reaction would be to the lifting of restrictions. 

He explained: “It’s been looking fantastic in every nation of the United Kingdom over the last two or three weeks, we’ve seen Covid cases coming down in Wales, in Scotland and Northern Ireland and in England.

“So it’s a pretty safe assumption to think that people can move ahead with the next stage.

“Many will be asking actually as to why Scotland didn’t do this sooner, there were many predictions of what would happen in England with Freedom Day that there’d be 100,000 cases a day.

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“That we’d face really quite serious winter-style challenges in the middle of August.

“Well, it looks like England has turned the corner despite Freedom Day so potentially there’ll be more political pressure on Nicola Sturgeon as to why she didn’t move sooner.”

The Scottish public is expected to be told limits on group numbers and social distancing will be scrapped however mask-wearing will remain in place for public transport and other enclosed spaces. 

Speaking about the decision, Ms Sturgeon said: “We have seen some very positive developments recently and that goes give us, it certainly gives me, grounds for optimism that we will be able to continue our progress out restrictions.

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“That said we do still need to be cautious.

“It’s good that cases are lower than they were three weeks ago, that comes as a relief to all of us, but they are still nine times higher than they were at the start of May.

“And we know that the Delta variant is significantly more infectious than previous variants.”

Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross called for changes to the proposed plans to give greater freedoms to double-vaccinated Scots.

He said: “The success of Scotland and the UK’s vaccine scheme overall means we can now look to move forward, cautiously but confidently, and remove almost all Covid restrictions.

“The blanket requirement to self-isolate for 10 days should be amended for those who are double-vaccinated since the virus now poses far less risk to people with that level of protection.

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“We should move to a test-first system that lets people get on with their lives safely.

There were concerns from some government officials that the daily cases in England could reach 100,000 over the summer with potentially 200,000 towards the start of autumn/winter/ 

Health Secretary Sajid Javid made the announcement during his first week in post to the House of Commons. 

However, England cases have dramatically fallen in recent weeks with around 20,000 daily cases now recorded. 

On August 2, 24 deaths were recorded as the Government says the link between hospitalisations and deaths has been “weakened”. 

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