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Coronavirus / Mix of home and office working encouraged from Monday

Nicola Sturgeon addressing the Scottish Parliament on Tuesday afternoon.

A PHASED return to office working in Scotland will kick in from next week, with employers encouraged to look initially at a hybrid system.

First minister Nicola Sturgeon said in an update to parliament on Tuesday that she does not expect to see a “wholesale return to the office” when the guidance relaxes on Monday.

She said a mass return to the office would risk the progress in tackling the Omicron variant of coronavirus.

Hybrid working would involve some time in the office and some time at home, and employers are encouraged to look at how best to manage the transition with workers and trade unions.

Meanwhile a further 30 confirmed cases of Covid have been recorded in Shetland.

All of the 30 cases reported today came from positive lateral flow tests.

Nationally though case numbers have fallen and there is a drop in hospital admissions.

Sturgeon said the progress against the more infectious Omicron variant “is real, and I am hopeful it can be sustained”.

She said this has been down to the vaccination programme and restrictions imposed in December.

In another change, face coverings will no longer be required from Friday for any adult taking part in organised activities when they are directly interacting with children under the age of five.

A two metre physical distancing requirement in indoor settings where people have a specific exemption from the need to wear a face covering will also be dropped to one metre.

And from 11 February fully vaccinated travellers will no longer need to take a test after they arrive in Scotland, although they will still be required to complete a passenger locator form.

Meanwhile a meeting of the NHS Shetland board on Tuesday heard that the isles’ vaccination figures continue to be among some of the best in Scotland.