Sturgeon set to heap pressure on Boris by slowing Scotland's unlocking

Nicola Sturgeon is set to heap pressure on Boris Johnson by slowing down Scotland’s Covid unlocking TODAY amid Indian variant fears – despite Tory warning against ‘leaving behind whole areas’

  • Under its roadmap Scotland is due to move into Level 1 restrictions from June 7
  • But First Minister expected to say this afternoon some areas will stay in Level 2
  • FM has already warned Glasgow may ‘have to be in Level 2 for a couple of weeks’

Nicola Sturgeon is set to give Boris Johnson yet another Covid-related political headache today as she confirms she is slowing Scotland’s march out of lockdown.

Under the Scottish Government’s Covid route map, Scotland was scheduled to move into Level 1 restrictions from June 7. 

But the First Minister is expected to confirm this afternoon that areas that have seen a spike in Indian Variant cases will stay in stricter lockdown in a bid to get a handle on the highly transmissable strain.

Ms Sturgeon has already warned that Glasgow, which is still in Level 3, may ‘have to be in Level 2 for a couple of weeks before it moves to Level 1’.

It comes as Boris Johnson faces pressure from Scientists in England to delay its emergence from lockdown measures on June 21, due to the Indian variant.

Ms Sturgeon came under pressure to keep all of Scotland on its path out of lockdown today.

Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross said: ‘The success of Scotland and the UK’s vaccine scheme means we can now be far more positive about easing restrictions.

‘Everyone understands that there will be a need for local, targeted measures when an outbreak occurs.

‘But leaving behind whole areas should be ruled out. Sweeping measures that unnecessarily hurt a whole city or council area are unfair on businesses and local people waiting to get on with their lives.’

The First Minister is expected to confirm this afternoon that areas that have seen a spike in Indian Variant cases will stay in stricter lockdown in a bid to get a handle on the highly transmissable strain.

Under the Scottish Government’s Covid route map, Scotland was scheduled to move into Level 1 restrictions from June 7.

It comes as Boris Johnson faces pressure from Scientists in England to delay its emergence from lockdown measures on June 21, due to the Indian variant.

Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross said: ”Everyone understands that there will be a need for local, targeted measures when an outbreak occurs. But leaving behind whole areas should be ruled out’

A move to Level 1, if it goes ahead, would allow up to eight people from three households to meet indoors in pubs, cafes and bars, while up to 12 people from 12 different households could socialise together outside in gardens or outdoor public places.

Following the announcement, Health Secretary Humza Yousaf will open a parliamentary debate on Scotland’s recovery from the pandemic.    

Boris Johnson is today facing mounting pressure over June 21 ‘freedom day’ as scientists warned he will have to ‘carry the can’ for a ‘bad decision’ – comparing the Indian variant to a ‘volcano’ that could engulf the country.

The PM is being assailed by a queue of experts warning against the full unlocking – with Prof Adam Finn among those entreating him to recognise that the UK is still ‘vulnerable’ and the ‘job is not done’.

Prof Ravi Gupta, a member of the government’s Nervtag advisory panel, suggested the timetable should be pushed back ‘at least a few weeks, probably a month’ so more data are available and schools have started summer holidays.

The British Medical Association insisted the battle against the disease is at a ‘pivotal moment’ and Mr Johnson must stick to his promise of being guided by ‘data not dates’.

One consultant respiratory physician referred to ‘mini Covid volcanoes’ erupting at hospitals around the country, which are threatening to ‘explode’.

However, others have said it is still too early to be sure what can happen, with the government not committed to making any final choices until June 14.

Amid growing signs of alarm over the direction of the pandemic, even though deaths are still low, ministers have admitted that a surge of vaccine second doses is the only way to ‘keep us on the roadmap’.

Coronavirus cases are on the rise nationally, and between May 24 and 30 there were 60 deaths reported within 28 days of a positive coronavirus test – an increase of 42.9 per cent compared with the previous seven days.

Yesterday, one further death in the UK was recorded by the same metric and 3,383 lab-confirmed cases were confirmed. The 22,474 cases between May 24 and 30 was 26.8 per cent higher than the previous seven days.

It comes as a two-week targeted and enhanced testing programme for asymptomatic people began today in two postcodes in the Canterbury area after the emergence of a number of cases of the Indian strain in the Kent city. 

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