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Coronavirus: ‘Slow and steady’ approach by Scotland

Nicola Sturgeon

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Nicola Sturgeon has said people’s quality of life is as important as restarting the economy in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The first minister said she was trying to strike a balance between the two after more than nine weeks of lockdown.

Ms Sturgeon said Scotland would stay on a “slow and steady” route out of restrictions.

Scotland is in its third day of eased restrictions with people able to meet with friends and family outside.

Speaking on Sky’s Sophy Ridge on Sunday show, the first minister said the Scottish government was committed to taking a cautious approach because it was clear coronavirus had not gone away.

She said: “It’s important to get the economy going as soon as it is safe to do so but I also think it is important we recognise the things that matter most to people’s quality of life, and that is family, friendship and love.

“These are all things people have had to sacrifice over the past couple of months.”

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The hot weather since the lockdown restrictions were eased has seen more people outdoors than before

Ms Sturgeon said that because the virus “could run out of control again” there was a limit on the restrictions that could be lifted just now and it “would be wrong” to use all of that flexibility to just get the economy moving again.

She added that she wanted to avoid a situation where, “people are being told they have to go back to work and they remain in lockdown for the rest of the time – that would not give very much quality of life to people”.

Ms Sturgeon also said there should be a clear distinction between politicians making decisions and scientists advising.

The first minister reiterated that changes that mean vulnerable people in England who have been asked to remain at home (shielding) will be able to go outdoors again do not apply in Scotland.

‘Radical response’ needed

Meanwhile, 80 organisations from across different sectors of Scottish life have written to Ms Sturgeon calling for a radical response to the coronavirus recovery.

Peter Kelly, director of Poverty Alliance, said: “As we plan our economic recovery, we must build back better.

“We must design a more just taxation system, provide affordable and accessible public services, build a labour market that works for everyone, and ensure that everyone has an income that meets their needs.”

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