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First Minister Nicola Sturgeon confirms removal of coronavirus-related restrictions from Monday

By David Porter

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SCOTLAND'S Covid-19 restrictions are to be eased, with nightclubs reopening, large indoor events resuming and social distancing rules dropped.

The changes will take effect from Monday, January 24, after a significant decline in new case numbers.

However, people are still being asked to work from home and to take lateral flow tests before meeting with others. Self-isolation rules remain unchanged.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon told MSPs that Scotland had "turned the corner on the Omicron wave".

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.

Addressing Holyrood she said: "Cases are on the decline but we have seen increases in hospitalisation last week, but admissions are now starting to fall again with a small fall in ICU cases as well.

"The news comes as an enormous relief and while there are some uncertainties ahead we are not throwing all caution to the wind.

"It is possible we will see a rise in coming weeks following the return of schools so lifting of measures could have a negative effect.

"The NHS is under acute pressure and staff absences are still causing issues to the economy."

"With this in mind, the remaining statutory measures such as limits on indoor events, one metre distancing, table service for alcohol and closure of nightclubs will all will be lifted from Monday, January 24.

"We will also remove restrictions for indoor contact sports and three household limits on gatherings.

"Staff should continue to work form home, but we will engage with business to work towards a hybrid return from the start of February.

"Hospitality will to continue to collect contact details and certification will apply to venues where transmission is higher."

Moray's SNP MSP Richard Lochhead thanked the public for helping reduce transmission of coronavirus.

He said: "It is welcome news that Omicron cases appear to have peaked in the first week of January and are now on a downward trend.

"This positive position is thanks to the efforts and sacrifices of the public over the last month or so and I want to thank everyone in Moray for once again sticking to the guidance and doing their bit to limit the spread of the virus.

“I’ve no doubt that people in Moray will be pleased to hear that restrictions are being lifted, particularly those with businesses that have been impacted by restrictions.

"However, it’s important that we recognise that we’re still in a challenging position and that health and social care workers continue to work under significant pressure.

"Restrictions being lifted sadly doesn’t mean Covid has gone away and I would urge everyone to continue to wear masks in indoor places, test regularly using LFT kits, and of course if you’ve not yet had your vaccinations it isn’t too late to go along and get your jabs.”

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