Scottish Health Secretary Humza Yousaf warns there is no ‘freedom day’, as ‘virus is still with us’

Scotland entered into Covid restriction level 0 at midnight on 9 August, though some rules still remain in place
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Scotland officially entered lockdown level zero at 00:01 on 9 August (today), with legal requirements to physically distance scrapped in almost all settings.

However, Scottish Health Secretary Humza Yousaf warned that the day would not be dubbed ‘freedom day’, as the virus continues to spread across the country.

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Humza Yousaf warned Scots to remain cautious, as the country enters in level zero and larger events can take place again (Picture: Getty Images)Humza Yousaf warned Scots to remain cautious, as the country enters in level zero and larger events can take place again (Picture: Getty Images)
Humza Yousaf warned Scots to remain cautious, as the country enters in level zero and larger events can take place again (Picture: Getty Images)

He warned Scots that “the virus is still with us,” while First Minister Nicola Sturgeon stated on Saturday 7 August that Scotland’s Covid situation is “in a much better position.”

From today, hospitality settings can now open at full capacity and maximum numbers of spectators can return to events and stadiums.

Outdoor events with a capacity above 5,000 and indoor events with more than 2,000 attendees will need to apply for local authority and Scottish Government permission to go ahead.

Additionally, children under 12 will not be required to wear a face mask.

‘Sensible precautions’

However, some restrictions will still remain, including:

All passengers aged over 12 will be required to wear a face mask on public transport. Face masks must be worn in indoor public areas such as shopping centres and museums. Secondary school pupils and all teachers will be expected to wear face masks for up to six weeks after schools return in mid-August. School teachers must keep a one metre distance between themselves and students in class and on the school premises. A two meter distance has to be kept between everyone in healthcare settings. Work from home is still the default work setting, where possible.

Other changes include double-vaccinated adults and children no longer being required to self-isolate if contacted by track and trace, as long as they test negative and display no symptoms.

School classes will not be required to self-isolate if one class member tests positive, with only higher-risk close contacts expected to isolate.

‘Be sensible’

Ahead of the restriction changes, Sturgeon urged the public to "continue to take sensible precautions" as Scotland returned to it’s greatest level of normality in over a year.

On 8 August, Yousaf told BBC Scotland News: "Today is a really important day. People have been living with the harshest restrictions in their personal lives that any of us will ever remember, and they have been doing so on and off for 17-18 months.

"It has been really challenging for people, so I would enjoy this day but also please remember that the virus is still with us.

"That's why you'll have to continue to wear face masks in indoor settings and continue to give your details in terms of test and protect when you go to hospitality. Enjoy yourself but continue to be sensible."

Scotland reported 1,240 new cases of coronavirus on Sunday, 146 fewer than the 1,386 reported 24 hours earlier.

Edinburgh University public health expert Prof Linda Bauld said the signs were encouraging for life beyond level zero.

She told BBC Scotland: "It's a natural next step. We had a peak of about 4,000 cases per 200,000 in early July but that's dropped by two thirds.

"Hospital admissions peaked around 19 July and have been consistently declining. We've seen fewer people in ICU and just this last week a reduction in mortality even though those have been low due to vaccines."

"We have a few weeks of summer left and I think that will go well."

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