In the face of rising case numbers of the virus, NICOLA Sturgeon took part in crisis talks with Michael Gove and other committed leaders to “consider the options” of easing Covid 19 rules at Christmas.
On Tuesday evening, the First Minister took part in a phone call to discuss Christmas steps with Cabinet Secretary Michael Gove and representatives of the devolved administrations.
A spokesman for the Scottish Government added that the phone call was a “good opportunity to review the Christmas position and discuss whether there is a need to strengthen messages or policies.”
For five days over Christmas, the First Minister urged “extreme caution” if regulations are relaxed. But Ms. Sturgeon warned that “it’s a case for us to look at tightening flexibilities,” such as how many people should attend and for how many days.
As it stands, for five days between Dec. 23 and 27, up to eight individuals from three households will shape a “festive bubble”
The First Minister said in a speech today, “There will be a four-nation discussion to take stock of recent developments later today.”
“But I would suggest extreme caution for now.
If over Christmas, especially indoors, you can avoid mixing with other households, please do so.
“However, if you feel it is unavoidable – and we have tried to be pragmatic in acknowledging that some people will – then please reduce your unnecessary contact as much as possible between now and then.”
In Stage 3, Aberdeen, East Lothian and Aberdeenshire have passed.
Scottish Greens co-leader Patrick Harvie, pressed by the First Minister to confirm that Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire and East Lothian will be transferred from Stage 2 to Stage 3 on Friday, said the four nations had “committed in advance to the Christmas relaxation” before waiting to see if existing steps were successful.
He added that it was now “pretty clear” that “premature.” was this decision.
Mr. Harvie asked Ms. Sturgeon what the role of the First Minister will be in her phone call later in the day with Michael Gove.
The talk will “weigh up the options.” Ms. Sturgeon said.
She added: “With a firm perspective, I’m not going into the conversation. But I think there is a case to be made that we are looking at strengthening the flexibilities that have been given, both in terms of how long and how many individuals meet.”
Update on Nicola Sturgeon Covid: Full list of the new levels of coronavirus in Scotland.
“I will consider the views of the other nations, if we can get to a four-nation agreement I think that would be preferable, if that’s not possible we will continue to consider within the Scottish Government what we think is appropriate.”
Mark Drakeford, First Minister of Wales, called the four-nation approach to the festive season a “hard-won agreement” and said he would “not lightly brush it aside.”
The change comes at a time when Sir Keir Starmer, Labour leader, called for an immediate review of easing the rules after leading medical journals warned that “cost many lives.” to loosen the restrictions.