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Two-metre rule to remain in place in Scotland as First Minister hails NHS for not ‘coming close to being overwhelmed’

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon hailed the country’s health workers for not allowing the NHS to become overwhelmed by coronavirus, three months to the day from the start of lockdown.

The SNP leader’s praise came as she doubled down on keeping Scotland’s social distancing measurement at two metres, as the rest of the UK prepares to ease guidelines next week.

At Tuesday’s daily press briefing the first minister said she had not seen evidence that would suggest lowering the two-metre limit was worth the risk.

Workers outside the new, temporary NHS Louisa Jordan Hospital at the SEC event centre in Glasgow.

She added the Scottish Government’s advisory group is currently reviewing evidence and she expects an answer from it by July 2.

Hotels in Northern Ireland are expected to open for business on July 3, while in England pubs will reopen and dinner parties be permitted from July 4.

Scottish Conservative leader Jackson Carlaw criticised the Scottish Government’s so-called “go-slow” approach to easing restrictions, warning it could damage the country socially and economically.

Latest figures

As of Tuesday morning, 2,476 patients have died in Scotland after testing positive for coronavirus, up four from Monday.

A total of 18,182 people has tested positive for the virus in Scotland, an increase of 12.

There are 865 people in hospital with confirmed or suspected Covid-19, a decrease of two in 24 hours, while 21 people are in intensive care.

Ms Sturgeon claimed Scotland’s NHS came “nowhere near” to being overwhelmed, as initially feared as the pandemic spread in March.

She added: “As of Tuesday, we’re in a very different position. Hospital admissions, which at one point were at 200 a day, are currently in single figures every day.

“The number of people in intensive care has fallen by 90% and while it is the case that one person dying from this virus is one too many, we’ve also seen a very significant and sustained decline in the number of those deaths.”

Will be ‘difficult’ to look at England

Tory leader Jackson Carlaw called on the first minister to re-evaluate the government’s approach.

Jackson Carlaw.

He added: “There’s no doubt that elsewhere in the UK things are really beginning to happen.

“The risk now is that Scotland is left behind socially and economically.

“It will be very difficult for people here to look on as England, and indeed the rest of Europe, begins a return to normal.

“It will also be very costly for businesses, industries like tourism and hospitality, and the mental health of the nation.

“The people of Scotland will not accept a go-slow approach from Nicola Sturgeon much longer.”

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