‘Try to not get distracted’ by Boris Johnson’s lockdown messages, Nicola Sturgeon tells Scotland

‘Try to not get distracted’ by Boris Johnson’s lockdown messages, Nicola Sturgeon tells Scotland

Nicola Sturgeon has urged Scots to “try to not get distracted” by lockdown messages from Boris Johnson’s government as she stressed the message in Scotland remains to stay at home.

The first minister said people in Scotland “shouldn’t be going out except for essential purposes” since the removal of the once-a-day limit on exercise is the only change to guidance north of the border.

The SNP leader’s insistence on sticking with a “stay at home” position means significant divergence from England, where a series of changes to lockdown restrictions were announced by Mr Johnson on Sunday evening.

The UK government revealed a “stay alert” message and said anyone who cannot work from home should be “actively encouraged to go to work” across England, unless they have coronavirus symptoms or are particularly vulnerable.

Speaking at the Scottish government’s daily coronavirus briefing, Ms Sturgeon said: “Please try not to get distracted by messages from other parts of the UK … I want to reiterate those announcements do not apply yet here in Scotland.

“That is not, let me stress, for any political reason, it is because the Scottish government is not yet confident these changes can be made safely in Scotland yet without running the risk of the virus potentially running out of control again.”

She said moving at different speeds in different parts of the UK on lockdown rules based on good evidence “need not be a cause for confusion” but added “never has the duty on political leaders to communicate clearly been greater”.

Although Mr Johnson said people in England could go out and “sit in the sun”, Ms Sturgeon said the “very minor change” to enable exercise more than once a day in Scotland does not allow anyone to sunbathe or have a picnic.

“It doesn’t give people a licence to meet up at the park or at the beach,” she said.

Ms Sturgeon added: “We do not at this point want to see more businesses opening up, more people going to work, we do not yet want to see more people using public transport and we are not yet changing who can or should be at school.”

Nicola Sturgeon speaking at the Scottish government’s daily briefing, 11 May (Scottish Government/AFP via Gett)

It came after the first minister announced the death toll among people who have tested positive for coronavirus in Scotland had risen by five to 1,862.

She highlighted the “tragic story” reported in The Glasgow Times of Andy Leaman, from Castlemilk in Glasgow, whose mother, father and father-in-law have died with Covid-19 in recent weeks, meaning his daughter has lost three of her grandparents.

“Their story is heartbreaking, it is heartbreaking for them,” Ms Sturgeon said. “But what all of us should reflect on is it could be any one of us.”

In Wales, people will be able to exercise more than once a day and garden centres are set to reopen from Monday. Local authorities can also start planning how to safely reopen libraries and municipal recycling centres.

Speaking about the minor changes at a press conference on Monday, Welsh first minister Mark Drakeford said: “I think we have got it right in Wales and I don’t think they’ve got it right over the border [in England].”

Ministers in Northern Ireland aim to publish their plan for exiting lockdown on Tuesday, first minister Arlene Foster has said.

She said restrictions on outdoor activities would be eased before other measures, such as schools reopening.

“The whole point of devolution is the fact that we can have localised solutions within a UK framework and I think that that is what we are doing across the UK at the moment,” Ms Foster added.

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