Warning Easter trips ‘could spread virus’

First Minister Nicola Surgeon

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A joint appeal has been issued this lunchtime for Scots to stay at home and not be tempted out during the long Easter weekend.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and chief constable of Police Scotland Iain Livingstone, hammered home the message for the public not to venture out.

The authorities are highly nervous that with the Bank Holiday looming and tough lockdown restrictions now having been in place for three weeks, the Easter break will be when some will choose to take a gamble.

Mrs Sturgeon said: ‘It will be tempting this weekend to think that after almost three weeks of complying with these really tough restrictions that we can allow ourselves one little slip to see our friends or visit a grandparent on Easter Sunday.

‘But the risks of that would be not a risk worth taking. The one time you ignore the guidance could be the time you get infected with the virus or it could be the time that you pass it onto a loved one without knowing about it.

‘Please do not throw away all of the good work of the last three weeks and do not put yourself or your loved ones at risk,’ she said.

She called on people not to ‘holiday or travel to rural areas’ with the good weather in mind.

Such beautyspots are ‘especially vulnerable’ to the pandemic, she explained.

Mr Livingstone, who heads Police Scotland, said the public should expect officers to be on the look out for those travelling without justification.

‘Do not make personal exemptions bespoke to your own circumstances. If you are out and about, officers may ask you why,’ said Mr Livingstone.

‘I would encourage you to engage with officers, explain your circumstances and then listen to and act upon any advice given.

‘We recognise this is a difficult time, particularly during the Easter holiday period when in normal circumstances we would all be expecting to be out and about enjoying the good weather and seeing family and friends.

‘But I ask everyone accepts the changes to our daily lives. Stay home, stay safe and follow the guidance.’

Latest figures show that the death toll in Scotland from the coronavirus is closing in on the 500 mark.

Overnight, there were 48 deaths bringing the total of lives having been lost to the deadly bug to 495

The number of people in hospital rose by 51 to 1,832, with 207 of those in intensive care – a decrease of five.

However, Mrs Sturgeon urged caution in ‘reading too much’ into the fall.