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First Minister Nicola Sturgeon will this afternoon set out Scotland’s phased plan to remove current coronavirus restrictions.

The return of face-to-face education, sports activities for young people and limited social interaction for adults are among the priorities.

Level four restrictions will be eased into a geographically variable system, with at least three weeks between each step and all decisions “driven by data rather than dates”.

This follows the approach laid out by Prime Minister Boris Johnson yesterday, with a four-stage plan to get England out of lockdown.

Schools south of the border will open next month, with non-essential retail allowed to open from April, alongside outdoor hospitality.

On Monday, Scotland’s youngest children returned to the classroom for the first time this year, though most pupils will continue with home schooling.

The Scottish Government stated its priority is still the suppression of the virus to the “lowest possible level”, but the latest statistics show that more than 1.4m people have now had their first jab – and the it is now being offered to people with underlying health conditions, along with unpaid carers.

At yesterday’s Covid briefing, Sturgeon said: “We know we cannot continue in lockdown indefinitely and we must plan a gradual phased return to as much normality as possible.

“As we get to a situation where we can move back to a levels approach, with all or part of the country moving down a level, we can start to carefully open the economy again too.”

She added that the Scottish approach would have “broad similarities” with England, but it would not be identical.

Follow this page for live updates on the speech and reaction to it below:

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Post Author: EDONS