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Lockdown must not end without greater testing and better protection for workers, Scottish Labour and Greens demand

THE Scottish Labour and Green parties cornered the SNP today over its plans for exiting lockdown, warning that greater testing and better protection for workers were essential.

Both parties stressed the importance of testing, tracing and isolating coronavirus cases across the country as First Minister Nicola Sturgeon outlined a phased easing of restrictions.

With the first phase, from May 28, some outdoor activity will be permitted, including meeting people from “one other household” outside while social distancing.

Sitting and sunbathing in parks will also be allowed, as will "some non-contact outdoor leisure activities" such as tennis and bowls. 

Ms Sturgeon said that people "will be able to travel", but they should "stay within or close to their own local area" if possible.

Further restrictions would be eased later as part of a four-phase plan, as the government attempts to keep the reproduction of the virus down across Scotland. 

The First Minister said: “By doing the right thing, all of us have helped to slow the spread of the virus, to protect the NHS, and to save lives, and as a result we are able – gradually, cautiously, and in phases – to plan our move towards a new normality.”

Scottish Labour said that the government must act to expand testing, protect care homes and formulate a new plan for the economy as part of its plan. 

Party leader Richard Leonard said: “We have supported the lockdown, and we support a gradual easing of restrictions. 

“However, this needs to be done as safely as possible, it needs to follow the science and it needs to be done at the right time.”

The Scottish Greens stressed that the route map must be backed with “robust” testing and tracing, which were not currently in place. 

Green MSP Alison Johnstone said: “The World Health Organisation is clear testing and tracing every case is needed before restrictions are lifted, yet we have seen Scotland fail to meet its own capacity for testing, and contact tracing is not yet rolled out across the country. 

“This clearly needs to happen as soon as possible.”

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