Six months is a “more realistic” time frame for any new Covid-19 restrictions to be in place, Scotland’s Health Secretary has said.
While stating that a final decision on new measures has not been made, Jeane Freeman said any new measures were likely to last longer than previously.
The comments come as the Times reported a warning from Downing Street that new restrictions in England could be in place for six months.
Questioned on BBC Scotland’s Good Morning Scotland programme on whether the Scottish Government is considering a six-month time frame, Ms Freeman said: “It’s a more realistic position but we have not yet made all of our decisions about the additional measures that we put in place and how long they’ll be there for.”
Previously, when further lockdown measures were put in place in places like Aberdeen after an outbreak, an initial length of restriction was announced, with periodic reviews to track progress.
The Health Secretary told the BBC on Sunday that the changes would be announced “very shortly”.
Ms Freeman said the Scottish Government has been forthright with Scots about previous lockdown measures.
She added: “We’re very up front with people about what it is we’re asking them to do and how long we think we’ll be asking them to do that and how often we’ll look at the progress we’re making and report back.
“That will be the case, we’ll give an indication of time frame once we’ve finalised our view on the package of measures.”
The Scottish Government is expected to unveil a number of further coronavirus restrictions early this week after a spike in recent cases, with 245 new infections announced on Sunday, 5.4% of those who had been tested.
The Health Secretary reiterated calls made last week for the Prime Minister to call a Cobra meeting with leaders of the devolved administrations in a bid to align any measures as closely as is possible.
She added: “If that’s not possible, or there isn’t a Cobra meeting, the Scottish Government will make those decisions quickly and introduce them quickly.”
Ms Freeman said the imposition of restrictions was “complex” and would have effects on various parts of the economy and people’s lives, adding: “But at the end of the day, our economy will be best served the better we are at controlling and curbing this virus and its transmission in communities.”
Asked where cases are being seen in Scotland, the Health Secretary said the highest prevalence is still from household to household transmission, which measures would look to address.
Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf said UK Government chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance’s warning the UK could be facing 50,000 new coronavirus cases daily by mid-October, leading to 200 deaths a day a month later if the current rate of infection is not halted, is “sobering”.
He posted on Twitter: “Our own data in Scotland also showing concerning trends. Simply put, doing nothing is not an option.
“As Jeane Freeman said this morning, we will be guided by science & take action necessary to save lives.”