Great Britain

Scotland to scrap social distancing amid plan to lift most Covid rules

The legal requirement for physical distancing in Scotland will be removed from next week, Nicola Sturgeon has said, as she confirmed the country would move beyond level 0 of the Scottish government’s five-tier system of Covid controls from 9 August.

Blanket self-isolation for school pupils will also be scrapped: when Scottish schools return over the next two weeks, school pupils will no longer be required to isolate for 10 days when someone in their bubble tests positive for Covid, as long as they test negative themselves. But face coverings for secondary school children will remain mandatory in the classroom and around school buildings.

In a statement to MSPs, who had been recalled from summer recess for the virtual session on Tuesday afternoon, Scotland’s first minister set out plans for the lifting of most legal coronavirus restrictions. She also announced the removal of legal requirement for 1-metre social distancing, but face coverings will remain mandatory in all indoor settings they are now, such as retail, hospitality and public transport.

An adult who is identified as a close contact of someone who has tested positive for Covid will no longer be required automatically to self-isolate for 10 days, if they are double-vaccinated and can provide a negative PCR test.

With the whole of Scotland currently in level 0, the country will from next Monday finally exit the five-level framework of Covid controls it has been operating under since last November.

At her most recent Covid briefing, Sturgeon said the continuing fall in case numbers and the success of the vaccine programme in reducing deaths and hospitalisations offered “really strong cause for optimism”, but added that “a sensible degree of continued caution” was needed in the coming weeks.

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