Scottish first minister Nicola Sturgeon has announced plans to lift Scotland’s Covid-19 lockdown in phases, with some social distancing measures remaining active until next year “or beyond”.
Sturgeon said that her starting point "isn’t whether we have a Scottish approach or a UK wide approach," but one that was "the best approach to tackling this virus", The Telegraph reports.
She said that the Scottish government would ease the lockdown in "small, incremental steps", while conceding that public gatherings would be banned for the foreseeable future.
The document outlining the basis of the exit strategy says that attending pubs or public events will be "banned or restricted for some time" and that Scotland will not see an "immediate return to how things were", as the Scottish government at Holyrood seeks a "managed transition away from current restrictions" to keep the spread of Covid-19 suppressed.
Sturgeon said that the publication of the blueprint would pave the way for a process which will yield a more detailed exit plan over the coming weeks, but said that any prospect of lifting the lockdown quickly was "misguided".
She said: "A return to normal as we knew it is not on the cards in the near future".
The blueprint for Scotland's exit strategy does not specify when measures may be eased but did warn that when the time comes, "strong measures" will remain in force to "sustain low levels of [Covid-19] transmission" until there is a working vaccine or cure.
It reads: "We will need people in Scotland to continue to live their lives in ways that minimise the spread of the virus.
"So even as we lift some of the more restrictive measures, better hand hygiene and appropriate physical distancing will need to remain in place at home, on the streets and in the workplace."
The document indicates that Scotland will participate in a "collective decision-making process" across the UK but could look to relax lockdown restrictions or reintroduce them at different times to other parts of the UK if required.
Other parts of the paper support "early and rapid testing to confirm cases" and "tracing of everyone a confirmed case has been in contact with", highlighting the importance of increased testing capacity.