THE Scottish Conservatives are calling on the Government to remove the vast majority of Covid measures from the end of the month as new data appears to show the spread is slowing.

From Monday, restrictions on large outdoor events of more than 500 people have been removed but other rules, brought in before the festive period, remain.

Nicola Sturgeon said she is hoping to lift the remaining rules – including table-service-only at licensed premises and caps of 200 people (indoors/seated) and 100 people (indoor/standing) on certain events – from January 24.

The National:

Modelling produced for the Scottish Government has shown that hospital occupancy and cases are both expected to decline sharply from February, while recent days have shown an apparent reduction in daily case totals.

According to professor Mike Tildesley, from the University of Warwick and a member of the Scientific Pandemic Influenza Modelling group (Spi-M), the latest UK-wide case figures are “cautiously good news” and he hopes the country may have a “flu-type” relationship with the virus by the end of the year.

The latest data shows a 38% drop over the last seven days across the UK in the numbers testing positive for Covid-19, with 70,924 new cases reported on Sunday.

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The news comes as the Daily Telegraph reported that Boris Johnson is looking at scrapping self-isolation laws – meaning people would no longer be legally bound to self-isolate after testing positive for the virus. The self-isolation time in England has already been cut to five days if someone tests negative twice.

The Government is also looking to scrap so-called “Plan B” measures in England – which currently include mask-wearing, Covid passports and work from home guidance – from January 26.

It's all part of the UK Government’s plan to try to get the public to learn to live with the virus, the newspaper reported.

In Scotland, the Tories are now hoping for a similar approach. Ahead of the First Minister’s Tuesday Covid update, leader Douglas Ross said all the rules, besides those on masks, should be phased out from January 31.

The party is calling for an end to all business restrictions, guidance on household mixing and social distancing to end, the vaccine passport scheme to be cut, face masks to be scrapped in schools, home-working guidance to be phased out, and self-isolation rules to be phased out with the aim to remove them completely in the coming months.

The National:

Ross said: “The Scottish Government’s own data shows that we are past the peak of Omicron. The latest evidence means we can now be far more optimistic.

“Protecting mental health, physical health and Scottish jobs is every bit as important as slowing the spread of Covid. Our economy and the long-term health of the public must not be held back any longer than necessary.

“We believe the balance must now tip in favour of trusting the Scottish public to do the right thing and keep themselves and their families safe, as they have done throughout this pandemic.

“People across Scotland have learned to live with Covid. The success of Scotland and the UK’s vaccine scheme means the public can now tackle Covid through their own actions, without the need for so many government restrictions.

“We will be pushing the SNP government to examine their own data and progressively remove restrictions. The current rules-based approach should be phased out in favour of less restrictive public health advice.”

The Scottish Government has been contacted for comment.