Nicola Sturgeon has said Scotland will have to ask itself “what adaptations to pre-pandemic life” might be needed so the country can live with coronavirus.
The Scottish First Minister made the comments to STV’s Scotland Tonight ahead of her update to parliament on Tuesday about current Covid measures.
“Sometimes when you hear people talk about learning to live with Covid, what seems to be suggested is that one morning we’ll wake up and not have to worry about it anymore, and not have to do anything to try to contain and control it,” she said.
“That’s not what I mean when I say ‘learning to live with it’. Instead, we will have to ask ourselves what adaptations to pre-pandemic life – face coverings, for example – might be required in the longer-term to enable us to live with it with far fewer protective measures.”
Earlier on Monday, the Scottish Government said it had recorded 11,827 new cases of Covid-19 but no deaths in the last 24 hours.
It means the death toll under this measurement, of people who tested positive for the virus in the past 28 days, remains at 9,934.
While no new deaths were reported, officials noted that register offices are now generally closed at weekends.
There were 1,432 people in hospital on Sunday with recently confirmed Covid-19, up 50 on the previous day, with 54 people in intensive care, down one.
“We are in a position where we all want to get to as much normality as possible. All of us, me included, really crave that,” Miss Sturgeon told the broadcaster.
“But we need to recognise that this virus, although we hope Omicron is milder than previous variants, this virus still takes lives and it still causes significant health impacts for people.
“So we have got to treat it seriously and not underestimate the damage that it can do.”
Boris Johnson, the Prime Minister, said that he was looking at cutting self-isolation time to five days in England, but the First Minister said: “I don’t think that is something we should be doing anytime soon. But of course, we continue to assess these things, take advice, look at the data, and then make our judgments – and the judgments we make, of course, we are held accountable for.”
Before Ms Sturgeon spoke to STV, Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross said: “The Scottish public need to see some light at the end of the tunnel, so it’s time for the First Minister to produce a timetable on the new strategic framework that she promised.
“People want reassurance that restrictions won’t stay in force for a moment longer than absolutely necessary.
“After almost two years of sacrifice, the public need to see a bold timetable from the Scottish Government that will enable us to live safely with Covid.”
And Scottish Labour’s Health and Covid Recovery spokeswoman Jackie Baillie, commenting ahead of the update on Tuesday, said it was “a chance to take a serious look at where we stand in suppressing this virus, and what the latest data is telling us”.
“We need to make sure any and all restrictions are rooted firmly in the evidence and backed up by proper financial support,” she said.
“We also need a real plan to protect health and social care, which have been pushed to breaking point due to staffing shortages. Hospitals up and down the country are struggling to cope, and the lack of social care packages are leaving vulnerable people stranded without support.”