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Scottish Government to publish discussion paper on lifting lockdown

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Scottish Government to publish discussion paper on lifting lockdown

The document will not include a date or solid timeline for lifting the strict social distancing measures, and will instead emphasise that a “new normal” will need to continue

The Scottish Government will publish a document aimed at “charting a way forward” from the coronavirus lockdown.

It will not include a date or solid timeline for lifting the strict social distancing measures, and will instead emphasise that a “new normal” will continue, with many restrictions needing to remain in place

The Scottish Government says the publication is intended to “start a discussion” around balancing the need for measures to stop the spread of the virus with a widespread desire to return to “a level” of normal life.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon is expected to discuss the document during Thursday’s COVID-19 press briefing.

Speaking ahead of its publication, Sturgeon said: “The lockdown measures currently in place are absolutely necessary to suppress the virus, protect our health service and to save lives. But we need to chart a way forward, and this paper sets out the principles that will guide us.

“The public across Scotland have acted responsibly in the face of this ongoing threat, and it is only right that we treat people like grown-ups by sharing our thinking with them on how we can move beyond the current lockdown phase. This paper is high level at this stage but will evolve into a detailed plan as our evidence develops.

“Life may not return to normal for some time yet, but there is a way forward, and ultimately we will come through this challenge.”

Meanwhile, the UK Government is also discussing the need to lift some of the lockdown in order to mitigate the economic impact the measures are already having.

Senior Conservative MPs have warned the Government that it must begin a “step-by-step” lifting of the UK-wide coronavirus lockdown within weeks.

Leading figures from the 1922 Committee of Tory backbenchers met on Wednesday night to express their concern amid growing pressure for ministers to map a route out of the wide-ranging restrictions on normal life.

They said that the damage being done to the economy by the lockdown could potentially be more damaging to the UK in the long run than Covid-19.

But UK ministers have so far resisted calls to set out a timeframe for the restrictive measures to be eased, with Downing Street this week warning that a second peak of the virus would “do the most damage to health and the economy”.

"If you move too quickly then the virus could begin to spread exponentially again,” the Prime Minister’s spokesperson said. “The public will expect us to do everything we can to stop the spread of the virus and protect life."

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