Nicola Sturgeon gave her weekly update on Scotland’s coronavirus situation today as she discussed everything from the vaccine passport app to travel.
During the statement, the First Minister announced a number of important issues and confirmed that cases of Covid are falling – with infections having more than halved.
Tuesday’s statement also included information on the current lockdown restrictions in place and the continued need for face masks.
However, the SNP leader warned Scotland’s position ‘remains fragile’ as we head into the winter months.
Here’s all the key points from today’s update:
1. Face masks
The First Minister said Scots must continue to wear face coverings in Scotland.
This means masks are still mandatory when visiting shops, using public transport or in pubs and restaurants when not eating or drinking.
Sturgeon said if the recommendation was given that children could stop wearing masks in school after the October break, ministers would “consider it carefully” before making any announcement.
England has ended the mandatory requirement for face masks but their use is still expected in some places.
2. Lockdown restrictions to stay
The First Minister also said there would be no immediate changes to the limited remaining covid restrictions in force across Scotland.
The Scottish Government is bound by law to update MSPs every three weeks on whether emergency legislation brought in to curb the spread of coronavirus needs to be extended.
There will be no changes as of yet, but Scots still expected to wear face coverings in shops or on public transport.
However, Sturgeon warned Scotland’s position on Covid-19 “remains fragile and potentially very challenging” as winter approaches.
3. Cases are falling
The First Minister announced that cases are continuing to fall in Scotland.
In the past seven days, the number of cases has reduced by one fifth and are 60 per cent lower than the peak in early September, it was confirmed.
A total of 998 people are in hospital with recently confirmed Covid-19, down three in 24 hours, of whom 65 are in intensive care, down six.
Cases are also among teenagers, with numbers in the 15 to 14-year-olds age group dropping by 40 per cent in the past seven days and 80 per cent in seven weeks.
4. International travel
Nicola Sturgeon gave an update on international travel restrictions as the traffic light system was ditched this week.
From Monday, October 4, the green and amber lists merged, leaving the red list and ‘all other countries’.
She confirmed that anyone fully vaccinated or under 18 no longer need to provide proof of negative test before travelling to Scotland.
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Despite changes on conditions on pre-departure testing, passengers still need to take a Covid test on second day back home.
She said: “In practice, it is likely to be PCR test. We will continue to work with the UK government, devolved governments and the travel sector.”
5. Covid vaccine app
The First Minister issued an apology over the covid vaccine passport app as she explained why there were so many issues.
Numerous Scots reported struggling to either download the smartphone programme or complete the registration process when it was unveiled last week.
During the statement, the SNP leader explained that the problem was not with the app, but with the NHS systems that it links to.
The high level of demand after the launch of the app – combined with an error in one part of the NHS system – meant that information wasn’t being sent quickly enough.
This caused problems for those requesting paper copies of vaccination certificates, or seeking to download a PDF.
She confirmed that this backlog has now been cleared and urged people to get get the app, download the vaccine PDF or request a paper copy.
She also confirmed enforcement would not be in place until October 18.