Covid in Scotland: 'Stay at home' rule to end on Friday

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Scotland's "stay at home" lockdown order will be lifted on Friday, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has confirmed.

People are being told to "stay local" and remain within their local authority boundaries for the next three weeks.

Hairdressers, barbers, garden centres, click and collect and homeware stores will be allowed to reopen from 5 April.

Ms Sturgeon also confirmed that shops, gyms and some indoor hospitality should reopen from 26 April, when the travel ban within Scotland will be lifted.

Speaking at a coronavirus briefing, the first minister said progress in the vaccination programme had been "better than we could have dared hope for back at the turn of the year".

But she warned that there were "no grounds for complacency".

"In fact, it is really important right now that while the vaccination programme continues to be rolled out, that all of us remain hyper-vigilant in how we're going about our daily lives."

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Ms Sturgeon said the stay at home rule would be replaced by a requirement to stay local.

"That means the current travel restrictions, which prevent non-essential travel outside your own local authority area, will remain in place for another three weeks," she said.

The easing of restrictions from Monday will enable barbers, hairdressers, car showrooms, homeware shops and garden centres to reopen. Shops will be allowed to resume click and collect services.

In addition, outdoor contact sports for 12 to 17-year-olds can start again and college students will be able to return to in-person teaching for practical subjects.

It is expected that all school pupils will return full-time after the Easter holidays. Those in secondary schools are currently operating under a blended learning system.

From 26 April, all remaining shops should be able to reopen, and indoor gyms and swimming pools will be allowed to open for individual exercise.

Pubs, cafés and restaurants will be able to serve people outdoors, and there will be a partial resumption of indoor hospitality.

Non-essential work in people's homes will resume, as can driving lessons and tests.

Travel restrictions in Scotland will be lifted entirely and tourist accommodation, museums, galleries and libraries will be able to open.

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image captionAll shops should be able to reopen on 26 April

The latest figures reported on Tuesday showed there had been 411 new positive coronavirus cases, 2.8% of all tests, and that a further 12 deaths linked to Covid-19 had been registered.

A total of 2,436,398 people have now received their first dose of a coronavirus vaccine, up 26,572 from Monday, and 338,443 have received their second dose.

Ms Sturgeon said the average number of cases had fallen by three quarters since early January, and the number of deaths were down by more than 80% in the last two months.

Scotland's chief medical officer, Dr Gregor Smith, said there had been an uptick in cases among the 25 to 44 age group.

He said the virus could still have a "profound effect" on younger adults and urged people of all age groups to follow government advice.