A RETURN to full Covid lockdown in Scotland is unlikely but there could be some “tricky moments” in the coming months, one of Scotland’s leading clinicians has said.

In recent weeks, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has said there is reason to be optimistic about the trajectory of the Omicron variant, with Scottish Government projections for daily infections not being met.

Sturgeon this week said Scotland had “turned the corner on the Omicron wave”.

Speaking on the BBC Radio Scotland’s Good Morning Scotland programme, national clinical director Professor Jason Leitch said he cannot see a return to the tough restrictions put in place earlier in the pandemic.

“I don’t think we’ll go back to full lockdowns,” he said.

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“I can’t tell you for sure – nobody knows for sure – but my reading of the science, the history of pandemics, the global research that’s going on would suggest that the very original days – now some two years ago unbelievably – where we were locked in our houses … I don’t think we’re heading back there.

“But I think we might have tricky moments on the road out, but I’m hopeful today because Omicron is diminishing.”

This week, Sturgeon announced the remaining restrictions imposed to tackle the Omicron strain – which include caps on crowds at events, social distancing in public places and table service in venue where alcohol is served – will end from Monday.

However, face masks will still be required in public places and government guidance continues to urge people to work from home, along with self-isolation requirements and the vaccine passport scheme still in use for some venues.

Face coverings will also continue to be mandatory in secondary schools.

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Asked when school children will be able to take their masks off, Prof Leitch said: “I honestly don’t know.

“We’ve got a very, very senior Education Recovery Group (ERG), chaired by [Professor] Linda Bauld, with experts on there in education, of course, but also in public health, we’ve got parent representatives, we’ve got unions, who come up with the consensus science … they then advise the senior clinicians in the Government.”

It is then for Prof Leitch, the chief medical officer and the chief nursing officer to take their advice to the Government for a decision to be made, he said.

He went on to say the ERG do not want face coverings in secondary schools “unless that is the safest thing to do”, adding: “They’ll give us advice to remove them when they think it’s appropriate and I think that day is coming.”