SNP MSP Ruth Maguire has stressed the importance of the Scottish Government’s decision to retain its “Stay At Home” guidelines in tackling the COVID-19 pandemic.

The decision was outlined in a press briefing by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, clarifying the guidelines in Scotland on lockdown measures which remain largely unchanged.

Speaking in Edinburgh, the First Minister said: “We must not squander our progress by easing up too soon or by sending mixed messages that result in people thinking it’s ok to ease up now.

Let me be very blunt about the consequences if we were do that – people will die unnecessarily and, instead of being able to loosen restrictions hopefully in the near future, we will be faced instead with having to tighten them. We must not take that risk.

“For that reason, my basic message for Scotland remains the same as it has been – please stay at home, except for essential purposes.”

As of 11 May, the guidelines in Scotland now permit people to leave the house more than once a day for exercise.

Ms Maguire said: “The guidance from the Scottish Government with regards to lockdown measures has been clear and consistent. By continuing to remain at home, the progress made so far in tackling this pandemic is protected at a pivotal point.

“The lockdown will not be kept in place for a moment longer than is necessary and is under constant review. A phased approach to easing restrictions will be issued by the Scottish Government as soon as it can.”