Boris Johnson to review lockdown measures
Nicola Sturgeon will make a formal announcement on lockdown today, though the First Minister is not expected to outline plans for restrictions to be lifted.
The FM and other leaders in the UK are required to review the lockdown arrangements, in the context of the spread of the virus, every three weeks.
But while Sturgeon has previously stressed that it is too early to lift lockdown measures, reports suggest Boris Johnson will move to relax restrictions at the start of next week.
The Prime Minister is expected to keep distancing in place but is thought to be considering proposals to allow longer periods of exercise, the return of some sports, allowing people to sit in parks and for pubs and cafe gardens to reopen.
The plans emerged as the UK became the first country in Europe to officially report more than 30,000 deaths, after a further 649 people died as of Wednesday.
The measures, due to come in from next week, will be revealed by the Prime Minister on Sunday night as he details the “roadmap” for the UK to be led out of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Meanwhile Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer expressed concern about the idea of Scotland’s strategy diverging from the UK.
He told the BBC: “Across the United Kingdom, we went into lockdown together and I think it would be far better if any easing or relaxation was done together. There are real problems if different regions and different nations do it at different times.
“One of the things I will be saying to the prime minister today is that we need to keep a UK-wide approach to this. Otherwise we could have all sorts of consequences, with people travelling around the country from one area to another.”
The UK Government is also thought to be considering people to play non-contact sports such as golf and tennis in the coming weeks as it switches to a new slogan.
Officials have ordered the current 'Stay at Home, Protect the NHS, Save Lives' mantra to be removed from websites and social media on Saturday night, with Johnson expected to reveal a new “Stay Safe, Save Lives” message.
At Prime Minister’s Questions on Wednesday Johnson had defended the plan to make the announcement in a televised address on Sunday, rather than to parliament first, saying it was because the Government wanted to “get going” with some of the measures as soon as Monday.
On Thursday morning the PM will chair a Cabinet meeting at the end of the current three-week lockdown period to agree on the next steps.
The measures are seen as part of a plan to prevent lockdown “fatigue” by presenting a path back towards normality, but the relatively modest first shift is unlikely to satisfy the Conservative MPs who want to see the country re-opened for business as soon as possible.