Nicola Sturgeon reveals lockdown update for Scotland – so what does it mean for England's roadmap next week?

NICOLA Sturgeon has revealed her lockdown update for Scotland a week before Boris Johnson unveils England's full roadmap.

But what does today's announcement mean for the Prime Minister's blueprint to unlock England, which is due next Monday?

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The Scottish First Minister confirmed some children will return to the classroom next week – heaping pressure on Mr Johnson to confirm schools in England will reopen on March 8.

Pre-school kids and a limited number of older kids will be able to return to the classroom from Monday in Scotland – two weeks earlier than in England.

Ms Sturgeon also said an Easter holiday was very unlikely as hotels won't be open by then, although a summer staycation in Scotland may be possible.

And she admitted lockdown could be extended, with the SNP leader's full plans for exiting lockdown set to be published next Tuesday, a day after the PM's roadmap to freedom from Covid restrictions.

BACK TO SCHOOL

Ms Sturgeon revealed today that classrooms will be reopened for pre-school kids and some older pupils from next Monday in Scotland.

Children in Primary 1 to Primary 3 and those under school age in early learning and childcare, as well as those in the senior phase of secondary school will be allowed back to school, she said.

No more pupils can return after March 15 so phase one of Scotland's school reopening can be assessed.

Anyone returning will have access to lateral flow rapid results tests to help kids get back in classrooms.

Schools in England won't be returning until at least March 8, Mr Johnson has said, but today's announcement has piled pressure on him to confirm that date.

The PM has vowed to give parents at least two weeks notice before schools are reopened.

But it's not yet clear whether it will be all pupils due to return on March 8 or if it will be a staggered return.

It may be that some kids in key exam years will go back first, followed by others at a later date.

LOCKDOWN COULD BE EXTENDED

Ms Sturgeon warned today that lockdown could be extended for weeks to come.

The First Minister said that lockdown rules, including the stay at home message, would continue until the beginning of March – and possibly even beyond that.

She said: "We need to balance all the different factors and plan a gradual, phased return to as much normality as possible.

"That is what the government is now very much focused on doing."

At the moment the UK Government have not saidexactly what we will expect next week.

But Boris said yesterday he will include a range of dates for possible openings.

The PM hasn't yet made any firm decisions, but has said he is looking again at the tier system.

He's hinted he may lift restrictions across the whole country at once.

This would mean the tiers system may be scrapped regionally, and instead everyone have the same tier across England.

DON'T BOOK EASTER HOLIDAYS

The Scottish Government urged people not to book Easter holidays as hotels won't be open by then.

Staycations might be on the cards by the summer, but overseas trips probably won't be.

But Ms Sturgeon said she was unable to confirm yet if that will be possible.

She said: "We are likely to advise against booking Easter holidays, either overseas or within Scotland, as it is highly unlikely that we will have been able to fully open hotels or self-catering accommodation by then.

"However, for the summer, while it is still highly unlikely that overseas holidays will be possible or advisable, staycations might be – but this will depend on the data nearer the time."

It's not known what will be announced next week by Mr Johnson, with government officials cautious so far.

But ministers are reportedly assessing if self-catered breaks in the UK for people from one household may be possible by the Easter holidays, a government source told The Times.

The source said: "There’s an active discussion about how soon we can do it and we’ll be guided by the data.”

SUMMER STAYCATION BOOST

Ms Sturgeon said today it was "highly unlikely" summer trips abroad would be allowed.

But she suggested that summer staycations may be possible, laying open the possibility that Mr Johnson may follow suit next week.

The First Minister "However, for the summer, while it is still highly unlikely that overseas holidays will be possible or advisable, staycations might be – but this will depend on the data nearer the time.

At the start of February, Mr Johnson said he was "optimistic" Britain can have a summer holiday this year – but ONLY if the vaccine rollout continues to go well.

When asked last week if Brits could book a summer staycation "with confidence" he replied: "I don't want to say much more than I've already said about that.

"I'm hopeful, but it depends on a couple of things: we've got to keep the pandemic coming down in the way that it is at the moment, we've got to continue the roll-out of the vaccination programme in the successful way that we're currently seeing.

"But we've got to take one thing at a time and just be cautious."

But Transport Secretary Grant Schapps cautioned last week: "People shouldn’t be booking holidays right now, not domestically or internationally.”

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