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First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has admitted that she is ‘nervous’ about this weekend’s first relaxation of the lockdown restrictions in Scotland.
Some key rules brought in more than nine weeks ago to combat the spread of coronavirus have been relaxed from today, with more on the way next week.
But Mrs Sturgeon emphasised at a media briefing this lunchtime that the ‘virus has not gone away’ and that if cases increase because people have not acted responsibly, it could see lockdown brought back and Scotland starting again from ‘square one’.
She said: ‘I said yesterday that I was nervous ahead of these changes and I have to tell you that that is still the case.
‘The reason for that is this – if too many of us change our behaviour a bit more than these changes are designed to allow, then we could see the virus spread quickly again.
‘That would take us back to square one. The consequences of that would be measured not just in more time spent in lockdown and some of these restrictions that have been lifted being applied again, the consequences would also be measured in lost lives.
‘I am not trying at all to cramp anyone’s fun this weekend. I really do want everyone to enjoy these changes because all of you have more than earned it but I am asking you to please do so responsibly.’
‘Please stay within the rules, apply judgement. The purpose of the rules is to deny the virus bridges to jump. I really hope and I expect that these changes will bring some real improvement to the quality of our lives but there is a point I need to continue to stress – they are deliberately and by necessity – cautious changes and they have been very carefully considered and assessed.
She urged people to limit the households you see, keep a distance and be rigorous with hand hygiene.
As of 9am, there have been 15,327 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Scotland, an increase of 39 on yesterday, she said.
1,216 patients remain in hospital with confirmed or suspected COVID-19, a total decrease of 22 on yesterday.
Forty people remain in intensive care – an increase of three on yesterday.
Since March 5, a total of 3,640 people who had tested positive for COVID-19 have been released from hospital.
In the last 24, the deaths of 15 patients confirmed to have COVID-19 have been registered.
That takes the total number of deaths in Scotland under that measurement to 2,331.