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Here’s everything you need to know about Nicola Sturgeon’s next Covid announcement today

The next scheduled update is on Tuesday, July 13 and is expected to outline whether the country will move down to level zero on July 19, and subsequently whether we will move “beyond level zero” on August 9.

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Last week Ms Sturgeon urged Scots to act with care and not become complacent as we experienced a “steep rise” in cases due to the Delta strain of the virus.

What will the First Minister say?

Ms Sturgeon is expected to address the increasing pressure on hospitals across Scotland as several confirm that they are at “code black” levels.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon is going to give a media briefing at lunchtime on Thursday to update the country on the current coronavirus situation.

It is also likely that she will discuss the prevalence of the Delta variant as it continues to circulate around the country at a rapid rate.

Case numbers had looked to be falling slightly this week but yesterday just under 3,800 new Covid cases were recorded in Scotland over the previous 24 hours – 1,400 more than the day before.

Her announcement will follow Boris Johnson confirming earlier this week that England is going to remove all remaining Covid-19 restrictions on July 19.

That includes the requirement to wear masks and socially distance.

It is not expected that Ms Sturgeon is going to confirm whether Scotland is going to move down to Level zero on July 19 as planned, that update is expected on Tuesday, July 13.

It will also include whether Scotland is going to move beyond level zero on August 9, as per the timetable.

What are the latest case numbers?

On Wednesday, Scotland recorded 3,800 new cases of coronavirus, and five deaths of patients who had tested positive for coronavirus in the previous 28 days.

The death toll under this daily measure is now at 7,740.

A total of 387 people were in hospital on Tuesday with recently confirmed Covid-19, up 41 in 24 hours, with 34 patients in intensive care, up two.

So far, 3,890,176 people have received the first dose of a Covid-19 vaccine and 2,808,902 have had their second.

When are restrictions set to ease?

The country is set to move to level zero on July 19 three weeks after the June 28 date originally set.

If there are no concerns around rising hospitalisations or deaths, Scotland will move “beyond level zero” on August 9.

This will be a return to “almost complete normality” and will see almost all legal restrictions lifted.

What does Level zero mean?

Under the current plans, social distancing requirements are due to be scrapped indoors and outdoors beyond level zero.

This is conditional on two things; over-40s having been given two doses of vaccine – which is likely to have been achieved by August 9 – and a general review into the state of the pandemic.

The latter is what may put the easing of the rules at risk.

Ms Sturgeon has also said even if the legal requirement is lifted, the Scottish Government may still continue to advise 1 metre distancing indoors, which is the legal requirement in level zero.

Face masks may still be required in some settings, including shops and public transport.

The Scottish Government has said contact tracing will continue beyond level zero, but questions remain about how this will work.

Office workers will no longer be told to work from home, with the Government supporting a “phased return” to the office.

When is the announcement and how can I watch?

The announcement will be streamed on the Scottish Government Twitter feed from around 12.10pm today.

You can follow along with the announcement via our Live Blog.

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The Scotsman

The Scotsman is a Scottish compact newspaper and daily news website headquartered in Edinburgh. First established as a radical political paper in 1817, it began daily publication in 1855 and remained a broadsheet until August 2004. Its parent company, JPIMedia, also publishes the Edinburgh Evening News.

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