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Nicola Sturgeon has confirmed that some children will be able to return to school after the mid-February deadline, but said the blocking restrictions will not be lifted until early March.

Students in Primary One through Primary Third will return to school full-time, as will all children under school age in early childhood and childcare from 22 February.

A “limited number” of high school students can be turned into part-time to allow internships at the school, required for the completion of national qualifications, from the same date. Moreover, there will be a “limited increase in insurance for children in need,” the First Minister said.

However, the return to the second phase for school students would not start earlier than that in mid-March.

Ms Sturgeon also announced she hoped to produce a new roadmap from the blockade in the week beginning February 22, as she warned that a return to “100% normalcy” would not be possible in the near future.

The First Minister said “even a slight easing of restrictions could cause cases to start rising rapidly again”, as she said the main message “staying at home” would stay in place.

“We are choosing to use the very limited head room we now have to get at least some children back to school – because education and the well-being of children is such an advantage,” she said.

“But being able to get kids back into education could mean the rest of us living with some other limitations for longer. This is an exchange we need to be willing to do.”

Continental Scotland was placed in blockade in Jan4 to address the growing spread of the new coronavirus strain. The measures include an order enforceable by law for staying at home.

The rules were further tightened on Jan. 16, with click-through and collection services banned, except for those serving essentials, such as clothing, baby accessories and books.

In addition, ready-made food and hot drinks can only be served outside the building and a ban on public alcohol consumption has been imposed in Level 4 areas, including those purchased at departure services.

Five cases of the South African mutation have been identified in Scotland, but all are travel-related. Across Scotland, the UK variant now accounts for 73 per cent of cases.

The First Minister confirmed on 11 February, during the daily press conference, that the current R number in Scotland was below 1.0.

Ms Sturgeon said: “The level of hospital admissions has now brought us down to the number of first admissions to peak last spring.”

On 16 February another 49 deaths were recorded with 28 days a positive Covid test, bringing the total to 6,764 in Scotland.



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