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Test, trace and track to be operational as Scotland begins to ease the lockdown

By Scott Maclennan

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First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.

More than 100,000 people have accessed Scotland’s route map out of lockdown since it was put online yesterday according to the First Minister.

Nicola Sturgeon spoke about what will be happening when the lockdown regime is eased starting from Thursday so that “people know what to expect”.

The First Minister said the test, track and trace system will be operational under the name Test and Protect.

She also offered more advice on how and where people could meet friends or relatives underlining that the social bubble was not in place and people can meet a number of different households but only one at a time.

A five mile radius is also advised but will not be enforced although Ms Sturgeon did call on people to exercise judgment and not travel long distances to visit relatives.

Ms Sturgeon also emphasised that the biggest danger that lays ahead is if people take the first easing of the lockdown too far and start ignoring government advice.

“The one thing that would slow down our lifting of the lockdown is taking our foot off the brake too quickly now and allowing the virus to start to spread rapidly,” she said.

“However, on a more optimistic note as things stand we do intend to enter the first phase of easing restrictions from next Thursday (May 28) less than one week away.

“By then I hope you will still be seeing progress in the fight against the virus but also by then we will be in a position to start with our test, trace and isolate programme or test and protect as we're calling it.

“I want to reiterate some of the changes that I hope we will see from next week so that you know what you're able to look forward to.

“More outdoor activity will be permitted. There is a strong emphasis in the first phase on outdoor activity because one of the things we are learning about this virus is that the risks of transmission outdoors though not absolutely zero are nevertheless lower than the risks of transmission indoors.

“So you'll be able, in this first phase, to sit outside or sunbathe in parks or other areas and as long as you stay two metres apart you will also be able to meet outside with people from another household including in private gardens.

“That doesn't limit you to seeing just one specific household during this phase. You can see different households but we are asking you only to meet one at a time, we are also not intending to put a five mile limit on the distance you can travel to for example sit with your parents in their garden.

“But we are asking you to use judgment and increasingly come out of lockdown, I'm going to be more and more relying on you to exercise judgment that I know you will.

“If for example you need to travel a long-distance to see a relative outside you're more likely to perhaps go inside the house to use the bathroom and we don't want you to go inside others houses in this phase.

"This is because if you are infectious maybe without knowing about it you risk leaving the virus on surfaces inside the house and that would pose a risk to other people visiting elderly relatives.

“That is a risk we don't want you to take so please use your judgment and continue to have uppermost in your mind the need to protect those you care about even if that might mean staying apart from them for just a little bit longer.

“People will be able to travel preferably by walking or cycling at a location near the local community for recreation but here we are asking you to stay fairly local.

“Five miles is not going to be a strict limit but it is intended to give you a guide because what we don't want in this phase is for people to congregate at tourist hotspots as crowds of people – even if they are trying to socially distance –brings more risk that we don't judge that it is safe to take at this time.”

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