Full return for secondary schools in Aberdeenshire
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The First Minister said today that Scotland has started to receive its first doses of the Moderna vaccine as she confirmed a full return for secondary schools after the holidays end.
Supplies of the third type of vaccine have already factored into forward projections which have been take into account and the country is still on track for the first dose to be given to all the criteria groups for over 50s by mid April.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said: "Reaching this milestone in vaccinations gives us confidence to relax restrictions after a period where the decline had plateaued.
"Over the past seven days we can see the continued decline in new cases which have fallen by 80 per cent since January and deaths have fallen even more sharply.
"All of this is a positive picture and gives us a lot of optimism.
"Covid is down in Scotland but as we can see it is not out.
"Hundreds of people test positive every day and almost all are off the new variant which is more infectious.
"That is why so many countries in Europe are having to tackle increases and apply new lockdowns and that could apply here if we let our guard down.
"To sustain progress we must ease restrictions cautiously and carefully."
She continued: "We expect further significant changes on April 26, and I hope to be able to confirm this on April 20.
"To support further easing we are expanding routine testing with lateral flow available twice a week.
"This will be in addition to existing testing routes in priority areas, this is a more universal approach to testing.
"We are determined to get young people back to school and with that in mind, virtually all secondary pupils will go back after the holidays.
"The one exception is children who are on the shielding list who will wait until April 26.
"All others wills start back once the new term starts and I know this will be a huge relief to both parents and pupils.
"The return for older pupils will cause some concern to pupil and parents and teachers so let me assure people that we will give paramount consideration to safety.
"We are asking schools how to strengthen mitigation measures and twice weekly lateral flow testing is available.
"Through these measures we will do all we can to ensure the return is as safe as possible.
"For many I know this has been the hardest year of their lives and I want to say a heart felt thank you."