A NEW roadmap detailing Scotland’s long-term move away from coronavirus restrictions is to be released.

Nicola Sturgeon told MSPs that considerations must be made of more firm adaptations to allow Scots to “live with” the virus.

The First Minister said that a revised framework for dealing with the virus will be released in the coming weeks, following input from parliament and business organisations.

It comes as she announced a “phased and careful” relaxation of rules amid “cautious optimism” that the Omicron wave has “turned a corner”.

From Monday, the 500-person cap on attendance at outdoor events, including inside stadiums, will come to an end.

In a marked change of language to previous speeches, the First Minister said: “This [new framework] is intended to set out how we might adapt, medium to longer term, to living with the virus in a way that still mitigates the harm it does but without the kind of restrictive measures that we are all tired of and which do harm in other ways.

“Living with the virus is what we all desperately want to do.”

She added: “We know that we cannot continually rely on restrictive measures to manage the virus.

“But equally we cannot be indifferent to the continued risks the virus poses to health and wellbeing.

“So we need to consider what adaptations we can make to manage these risks in a way that is much less disruptive to our lives and much less of a daily presence in our minds.”

Speaking to STV earlier in the week, Ms Sturgeon hinted that continued measures such as face coverings could be necessary to allow other restrictions to be eased.

HeraldScotland: Nicola Sturgeon addressing MSPsNicola Sturgeon addressing MSPs

She said: “Sometimes when you hear people talk about learning to live with Covid, what seems to be suggested is that one morning we’ll wake up and not have to worry about it anymore, and not have to do anything to try to contain and control it.

“That’s not what I mean when I say ‘learning to live with it’. Instead, we will have to ask ourselves what adaptations to pre-pandemic life – face coverings, for example – might be required in the longer-term to enable us to live with it with far fewer protective measures.”

Previously, the Scottish Government ‘road map’ was used as a way to mark progress for areas through different ‘levels’ of localised Covid restrictions. There is no suggestion at this moment that any framework out of restrictions would be done on anything other than a nationwide basis.

Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross credited the Scottish public’s “good sense” for turning the tide on Omicron

He added:  “People across Scotland got their booster. Took tests. Self-isolated when they needed to. They were cautious to protect their families’ health, and especially careful around the vulnerable.

 “That’s why the data is more positive. It’s not because of government restrictions.”

Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar said the new framework “must include clear trigger points for any future restrictions, such as the rate of infections, hospitalisations and staff absences”.