Scotland set to delay end of lockdown to buy time for vaccinations

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Scotland’s first minister, Nicola Sturgeon, said restrictions will probably be maintained for three more weeks

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The Scottish government is likely to postpone the planned move to the lowest level of coronavirus restrictions on 28 June for three weeks, the first minister, Nicola Sturgeon, has announced.

In a statement at the Scottish parliament, Sturgeon said caution is needed to provide extra time to push ahead with vaccinations.

“Given the current situation – and the need to get more people fully vaccinated before we ease up further – it is reasonable to indicate now that I think it unlikely that any part of the country will move down a level from June 28,” she said.

“Instead, it is likely that we will opt to maintain restrictions for a further three weeks from June 28 and use that time to vaccinate – with both doses – as many more people as possible.

“Doing that will give us the best chance, later in July, of getting back on track and restoring the much greater normality that we all crave.”

Sturgeon said the decision would be confirmed at the Scottish parliament next week, following a planned review of the current levels. The delay would mean restrictions would be lifted on 19 July, the same date that has been set for the end of lockdown rules in England following a four-week delay announced by UK prime minister Boris Johnson on 14 June.

Earlier, officials indicated that Scotland has recorded two coronavirus deaths and 974 new cases in the past 24 hours. It brings the death toll under this measure, of people who first tested positive for the virus within the previous 28 days, to 7683.

The daily rate for positive covid-19 tests was 5 per cent, down from 5.2 per cent the previous day, according to figures published by the Scottish government. There were 137 people in hospital on Monday with recently confirmed covid-19, up from 128 on Sunday. Seventeen people were in intensive care, no change on the day before.

So far, 3,531,461 people have received the first dose of a covid-19 vaccination in Scotland and 2,470,181 have received their second dose.

However, these figures may be an underestimate because of an IT issue at Public Health Scotland that affected the extraction of vaccination data. Any missing data will be reported in tomorrow’s figures, the government said.

A total of 248,515 people in Scotland have now tested positive for the virus since the start of the pandemic.

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