The Scottish Conservatives have said Scotland should now be on a “faster road to recovery” because of the success of the vaccine scheme and encouraging public health data.
Douglas Ross said more positive public health data means that restrictions currently planned to be lifted on 17 May should instead be lifted on 26 April, with the exception of indoor mixing.
Public health data shows transmission rates and hospitalisations due to Covid-19 falling. Hospitalisations have dropped from 824 to 215 over the last month.
In February, Nicola Sturgeon indicated that restrictions may be loosened faster, depending on the public health data.
In Scotland, more than 2.5 million people have been vaccinated. Across the United Kingdom, the figure stands at over 31.5 million people.
Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross said: “Throughout the pandemic, we have supported the bulk of the Scottish Government’s measures to tackle Covid-19, with the exception of their schools plans and their lacklustre business support.
“However, we now believe the evidence is in favour of a more optimistic routemap out of restrictions, while still remaining cautious.
“The success of the UK vaccine scheme and far more positive public health data means we can look to safely speed up Scotland’s reopening dates.
“The SNP Government should not keep Scotland under restrictions any longer than we need to because every day that the government delays, the impact grows on mental health, physical health and family finances.
“We are facing a looming jobs crisis that will be far worse if the government holds back on a return to normality. This is the time to back businesses and work with them to start rebuilding Scotland now.
“People are waiting to get on with their lives. They should not wait any longer than public health data shows is necessary.
“Let’s safely speed up our return to normality and get our country on a faster road to recovery.”
We are calling for the following restrictions to be lifted on 26 April instead of on 17 May:
Nicola Sturgeon previously said the country ‘might be able to go straight to level 2’. Nicola Sturgeon said: “I’m making the point that we hope that some parts of the country might be able to go straight to level 2, all of the country might be able to go straight to level 2… I don’t expect us, in our opening up, to be significantly behind England. I think in terms of what we’ve set out so far it puts us roughly two weeks behind. That gap might close. They might slow down a bit or we might speed up a bit but that two weeks is roughly the pattern we followed last summer, and I actually think that put us last summer, not obviously in a completely sustainable position because we had another lockdown, but actually we managed to stay open for longer.” (The National, 24 February 2021, link).
The more encouraging public health data is as follows:
Latest test positivity rate (7 day rolling average up to 31 March) is 2.5 per cent. (Public Health Scotland, COVID-19 in Scotland Daily update, link).
Change in numbers in hospital:
824 people are in hospital with recently confirmed COVID-19.
71 people were in intensive care with recently confirmed COVID-19.
(Scottish Government, Coronavirus (COVID-19): daily data for Scotland, 1 March 2021, link).
215 people are in hospital with recently confirmed COVID-19.
21 people were in intensive care with recently confirmed COVID-19.
(Scottish Government, Coronavirus (COVID-19): daily data for Scotland, 1 April 2021, link).
Deaths (for the week beginning):
25 Jan: 443 deaths
22 Feb: 230 deaths
22 March: 61 deaths
(NRS, Deaths involving coronavirus (COVID-19) in Scotland, 31 March 2021, link).