Sumary of Face mask use in Scotland could stay through winter, says minister:
- John Swinney, Scotland’s minister for Covid strategy, said face coverings would remain “a significant part of our lives” and predicted many people could copy the practice in some east Asian countries of routinely wearing them outdoors.
- Swinney was speaking as a large proportion of Scotland’s Covid restrictions were lifted at midnight on Monday 9 August, with the country entering a “beyond level 0” phase.
- Sports stadiums will be limited to 2,000 people indoors and 5,000 outside, but can admit larger crowds with permission from local councils.
- However, face coverings will remain mandatory on public transport and in public places in Scotland, with school pupils expected to continue wearing them indoors for up to six weeks once schools return this month.
- On Sunday, Scotland’s health minister, Humza Yousaf, cautioned that there was no guarantee another lockdown would not be needed later this year, if a new variant emerged.
- The latest NHS Scotland data showed the numbers of those with Covid-19 in hospital fell last Friday to 367 patients, down from a recent peak of 543, with 54 people in intensive care.
- Swinney, who is also Scotland’s deputy first minister, told BBC Radio Scotland the devolved government had made a “rational and considered judgment” about which restrictions to lift, thanks largely on the “extraordinary” successes of the vaccination programme.