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Covid Update: First Minister confirms removal of restrictions from Monday

By David Porter

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Scotland's Covid-19 restrictions are to be eased, with nightclubs reopening, large indoor events resuming and social distancing rules dropped.

The changes will take effect from Monday, January 24 after a significant decline in new case numbers.

However people are still being asked to work from home and to take lateral flow tests before meeting with others.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon told MSPs that Scotland had "turned the corner on the Omicron wave".

Addressing Holyrood she said: "Cases are on the decline but we have seen increases in hospitalisation last week, but admissions are now starting to fall again with a small fall in ICU cases as well.

"The news comes as an enormous relief and while there are some uncertainties ahead we are not throwing all caution to the wind.

"Is is possible we will see a rise in coming weeks following the return of schools so lifting of measures could have a negative effect.

"The NHS us under acute pressure and staff absences are still causing issues to the economy."

She continued: "With this in mind, the remaining statutory measures such as limits on indoor events, 1m distancing, table service for alcohol and closure of nightclubs will all will be lifted from Monday, January 24.

"We will also remove restrictions for indoor contact sports and three household limits on gatherings.

"Notwithstanding the levels of Covid in the community is still high so to minimise risk we must remain cautious on interactions, even with no limit on household mixings - try to keep them small.

"Continue with lateral flows if mixing and recording results - even more important with no PCR confirmation to help us make better assessments.

"Staff should continue to work form home, but we will engage with business to work towards a hybrid return from the start of February.

"Hospitality will to continue to collect contact details and certification will apply to venues where transmission is higher."

She added: "The self isolation rules imposed two weeks ago remain in place.

"Different definitions of day zero and day one give the impression of a difference between England and Scotland but the time period is the same and people need to be clear on this."

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