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Coronavirus / Isles could move to level two at the end of April

Primary four to seven pupils could return to school in mid-March

SHETLAND could move down to level two of Scotland’s coronavirus restrictions at the end of April, the first minister has confirmed.

At that same point the hope is that mainland Scotland, which is currently in level four, will move to level three.

First minister Nicola Sturgeon was asked by Orkney MSP Liam McArthur where the Northern Isles would be at the end of April.

“We would also certainly be hopeful that those parts of the country in level three would also be able to come down a level,” she said.

In level two you cannot meet people indoors for socialising. Restaurants, cafes, pubs and bars can open indoors until 8pm but alcoholic drinks can only be served with the purchase of a main meal.

The full list of what is allowed in level two can be found here.

The first minister was speaking in the Scottish Parliament as she outlined plans to ease restrictions gradually over the coming weeks and months.

She said that the level system should be implemented once again in mainland Scotland, which is currently under lockdown, from the last week of April.

Sturgeon said there was a hope that primary four to seven education would return from 15 March, with a third and final phase of schools reopening potentially coming three weeks after.

Across Scotland the government plans to reopen the economy at the end of April.

A new strategic framework can be found online.

Much of the details provided by Sturgeon relate to mainland Scotland, which is under level four restrictions.

Shetland and some other islands are in level three, which already offers more relaxed rules.

The first minister said that a further document would be published in the middle of March providing firmer details.

She stressed that the easing of restrictions would be gradual, and that people need to exercise care and caution.

The first minister also confirmed that the aim is to provide a first dose vaccine to the entire adult population by end of July.

Sturgeon said restrictions are the main way to limit the spread of the virus at the moment, “but in time…we do hope that vaccination will become our main tool for suppression”.

Shetland once again recorded no new coronavirus cases today, with the last positive test being reported on 8 February.

Responding to the ministerial statement Highland and island Conservative MSP Jamie Halcro Johnston said people and businesses will be disappointed that the first minister had offered so little detail.

“This latest announcement from Nicola Sturgeon is little more than a holding statement telling us to come back again in three weeks for more information,” he said.

“The UK Government has provided a clear route out of restrictions, and the Scottish Conservatives have called on SNP ministers to do the same.

“If the SNP has the time to produce a roadmap on independence, they really ought to be able to do better than what they put forward today”.