The Scottish Government will consider in the next week if the easing of restrictions can be accelerated, Nicola Sturgeon has said.
Updating MSPs in Holyrood, the First Minister said figures in the past week were encouraging and that she and ministers would be considering if Scotland’s exit from lockdown can be moved forward.
Meanwhile the next phase of school returns in Scotland will go ahead as planned on March 15, Ms Sturgeon confirmed
She said: “I have always said if we can go further and faster, then we will not hesitate to do so.
“All of us want to move on as quickly as possible – and, as a priority, to see friends and family again. I hope that day is now not too far away.
“But to make sure we don’t see any reverse in our progress that would put that in jeopardy, it is really important that, for now, we all need to abide by the lockdown rules.
“So please continue to stick to their letter and their spirit.”
Guidance on entering people’s homes will be amended by the Scottish Government to make clear supporting new parents is allowed.
Ms Sturgeon told MSPs in Holyrood: “We are amending guidance on this today, to make it clear that those essential purposes include support for the welfare and wellbeing of a parent of a child who is under the age of one.
“I hope that gives clarity and enables vital support for parents of very young children.”
Nicola Sturgeon thanked school staff for their work to support young people during the pandemic.
Updating MSPs in Holyrood, the First Minister said: “I know everyone is looking forward to having children back in the classroom as soon as possible.
“I also want to thank parents across the country. I can only imagine how difficult all of this disruption continues to be.
“But I hope and believe that the end of it is now firmly in sight.
“And my thanks too to children and young people. I know how hard it must be to be separated from friends and teachers.
“But you have responded magnificently to all the difficulties of the last year.
“I hope that you are looking forward to getting back to school later this month.”
Last week’s strategic framework said all primary school pupils would return full time, if data supported the return.
A phased return of pupils will take place between March 15 and the Easter break, with all pupils given at least some in-school teaching in that time, before full-time schooling returns after the holidays.
But when secondary schools return, face coverings will have to be worn at all times and physical distancing guidelines followed.
The First Minister also urged school staff and older secondary pupils to take up the lateral flow tests being made available.
She said: “I would encourage as many staff and senior phase pupils as possible to use the tests when they return to school.
“It is a further important way in which we can ensure that schools remain as safe as possible.”