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What to expect from Nicola Sturgeon’s Covid update today

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon will give her first Covid-19 update in parliament this afternoon since dropping restrictions surrounding hospitality.

Covid restrictions that had been introduced by the Scottish Government last month to stem the spread of Omciron were lifted on Monday.

However, as rules gradually roll back, thousands of new cases are still being detected daily.

Yesterday, positive cases in Scotland totalled 6,934, an increase of nearly 600 on Sunday’s figure.

Will there be a change to mask use in schools?

The first minister is also facing renewed calls from the Tory party to ditch face mask rules in Scottish schools.

While the Conservative party has made repeated calls for the first minister to drop masks from being mandatory, Deputy First Minister John Swinney has said there is still a need for them.

Thoughts echoed by the EIS teaching union, who are concerned about pupil and teacher safety while Omicron continues to spread.

Oliver Mundell, education spokesman for the Scottish Conservatives, said: “The SNP cannot keep ignoring the weight of argument against face masks in classrooms.

He added: “Education experts are clear that face masks in classrooms have a negative impact on learning, especially for those children with extra needs, and scientific experts are in agreement that it’s safe for them to go.”

Oliver Mundell MSP
Oliver Mundell MSP

“So there is no excuse for this restriction remaining in place, and Nicola Sturgeon should lift it immediately.

“Pupils, teachers and parents are desperate for a return to normal learning after two years of disruption, so it’s time the first minister listened to her own experts.

“With curbs being eased across the country this week, under the SNP school kids remain all but forgotten as ministers continue to drag their heels at the expense of our children’s education.”

Hospitality restrictions eased

On January 17, the restrictions for only 100 people at indoor standing events, up to 200 people at indoor seated events, and up to 400 people outdoors were dropped.

And yesterday, the ban on amateur indoor contact sports was lifted and nightclubs were allowed to reopen.

The rule for table service only and one-metre distancing between tables in hospitality has also been dropped and groups from more than three households can now meet up.

However, it is thought that two elements of the government’s fight against Covid, vaccine passports and self-isolation, will remain unchanged.

Suggestions that the passport scheme could be expanded to cover more venues did not materialise in last week’s briefing and could be expanded upon later today.

Where and when can I watch the briefing?

The first minister’s coronavirus statement is due at 2.20pm on January 25 and will be streamed live on Scottish Parliament TV. 

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