Taking questions at the Scottish Government’s virtual coronavirus briefing, Nicola Sturgeon was confronted by an ITV reporter who asked the First Minister to explain why she made a U-turn on her decisions to allow children to go back to school full time. The reporter also questioned the Scottish leader on her SNP party colleague John Sweeney ignoring the advice of the Education Recovery Committee on social distancing.
He said: “Larry Flanagan said that this decision of a U-turn on schools was, he said, a political announcement.
“It wasn’t agreed by the education recovery committee in which he and others sit.
“So why is it that you didn’t consult the group?
“And just to go back to the point, if the ERC says that they have serious concerns about physical distancing, and John Sweeney said there would be no physical distancing, how can those two be reconciled?”
To which Sturgeon replied: “It’s only a week ago that questions from journalists like you were demanding why we weren’t doing more to bring children back full time to schools.
“That’s the luxury of the journalist and I know it’s very legitimate to ask the question from whichever perspective.”
As the reporter tried to rebut, she blasted: “I’m going to answer the question and I’m going to answer fully.
“First of all, there hasn’t been a U-turn, we had planned for a contingency because we have until very recently thought that full-time education in August would not be possible because we didn’t think it would be safe with the level of infections.
“We now think that there is a different prospect, so are planning resumption full time.”
A total of 2,482 patients have died in Scotland after testing positive for coronavirus, up by two from 2,480 on Wednesday, Nicola Sturgeon said.
The First Minister said 18,196 people have tested positive for the virus in Scotland, up by five from 18,191 the previous day.
The First Minister added that the R number – the average number of people each infectious person passes the virus on to – was still estimated to be between 0.6 and 0.8 in Scotland.
She went on to state the number of people who are believed to be infectious with Covid-19 was thought to have fallen from 2,900 to around 2,000.
Nicola Sturgeon said: “This is the second day in a row the number of new cases has been in single figures.
“To put that into context the last time that happened was March 11. So that is a sign of how far we have come and the progress we have made.”
“All of these figures demonstrate again the progress we are all collectively together making in the fight against Covid,” she added.
The Scottish First Minister cautioned people must remain vigilant to the threat posed by coronavirus.
She also spoke about the “risks we still face” as more lockdown restrictions are eased.
Nicola Sturgeon said: “My main worry right now is we start to believe the virus has gone away, and that it no longer poses a risk and as a result we all drop our guard and simply go back to life exactly as it was before we were dealing with this epidemic.
“And that would be a mistake and it would be a mistake that is very costly.”
She continued: “At every stage, we need to remember that the virus has not gone away and it is very, very, unlikely to simply go away of its own accord.”