People in Scotland may have to wear masks in public places for years to come, Nicola Sturgeon has warned.
The First Minister insisted that tough curbs dramatically imposed on hospitality venues and large gatherings from Boxing Day had stemmed the spread of Covid, despite official figures showing that Scotland’s virus rate is higher than England’s.
And furious business leaders said Miss Sturgeon’s ‘gamble’ with restrictions must end after they failed to make ‘any meaningful difference’ to infections in Scotland.
Speaking ahead of today’s announcement about extending restrictions beyond next week, Miss Sturgeon said face coverings ‘might be required in the longer-term to enable us to live with it [Covid] with far fewer protective measures’.
In England, Covid restrictions could start to be lifted this month after Michael Gove said Britain was moving towards a situation where it could ‘live with’ the virus.
Downing Street is examining options to lift Plan B measures in stages if cases remain too high to remove them all in one go. Extending Covid passes, due to expire on January 26, would require another bruising clash with Tory backbenchers, which No10 wants to avoid.
But some ministers are pushing for the WFH guidance to be removed first, arguing that it causes the most damage to the economy.
Miss Sturgeon told STV’s Scotland Tonight: ‘Sometimes when you hear people talk about learning to live with Covid, what seems to be suggested is that one morning we’ll wake up and not have to worry about it any more, and not have to do anything to try to contain and control it.
Read Morel: Nicola Sturgeon tells Scots they may have to wear masks for YEARS as she announces her plans to ‘live with Covid