Nicola Sturgeon update: what did FM say today in Covid announcement - and are there Scotland lockdown changes?

The First Minister has said it is ‘likely’ more parts of country will not move to Level 0 at the end of June

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has said it is unlikely that more parts of Scotland will move into the lowest level of lockdown restrictions at the end of June.

During her latest Covid update today (Tuesday 15 June), Ms Sturgeon said it was “likely” that the current lockdown levels will not change on 28 June as previously hoped.

Sign up to our NationalWorld Today newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Her announcement comes amid concern about the spread of the Delta variant.

Nicola Sturgeon addressed the Scottish Parliament today (Getty Images)
Nicola Sturgeon addressed the Scottish Parliament today (Getty Images)

The SNP leader’s last major Covid update saw many areas of Scotland move into Level 1 on 5 June, paving the way for a greater level of normality.

And Glasgow, the only area of the country which remained in Level 3, was allowed to move down to Level 2, in welcome news for residents of the city.

Meanwhile, some island communities have already moved down to Level 0.

Here is everything Ms Sturgeon said.

What did the First Minister say during her latest update?

Scots were hoping for some good news during Ms Sturgeon’s latest Covid announcement, but the First Minister has confirmed that it is unlikely any further lockdown easing will take place at the end of the month.

A solid decision will be taken and announced next week, she said, but she warned Holyrood that current Covid restrictions will likely be kept in place for a further three weeks from 28 June.

That means it is possible that more parts of the country will not move into Level 0 then, as was previously hoped.

It could also mean that no other areas of the country will move down to Level 1 from 28 June.

But the First Minister said the government would be considering if any minor changes were able to take place, acknowledging "perceived anomalies" in restrictions.

A decision not to go ahead with the major changes would mirror the announcement made by Prime Minister Boris Johnson yesterday (Monday 14 June), as he extended England’s restrictions by another four weeks, pushing so-called “Freedom Day” back to 19 July.

Why might this decision be made?

Ms Sturgeon said the extra time would be used to aid the vaccine rollout, giving second doses to as many people as possible and allowing vaccination to get ahead of the virus.

"Doing that will give us the best chance, later in July, of getting back on track and restoring the much greater normality that we all crave," she said.

It comes amid a recent surge in coronavirus cases in Scotland, fuelled by the more transmissible Delta variant.

The variant of concern accounts for the overwhelming majority of new cases in the country, Ms Sturgeon said.

Scotland currently has the highest rate of Covid among the four nations.

Ms Sturgeon said cases had risen by more than one fifth in the last week and are now more than five times higher than in early May.

There is now evidence to suggest that people requiring hospital treatment are younger than before, she explained.

However, hospital numbers are only double what they were at the start of May, which suggests people are spending less time in hospital due to being discharged earlier, she said.

And the First Minister pointed to the success of the vaccination programme, saying early data shows there is “extremely strong” protection from the Delta variant with two doses of the jab.