Nicola Sturgeon says further easing lockdown later this week will help the economic recovery.

The First Minister again said we must be cautious, as the unemployment figures showed a big rise.

The jobless total in Scotland increased by 30,000 from 97,000 over three months to 127,000.

The unemployment rate in Scotland is 4/6%, which is higher than the UK rate of 3.9%.

The First Minister said Covid-19 has “created an economic crisis which demands our full focus and attention”.

However, in refusing to be rushed onto easing lockdown faster purely on economic reasons, she said suppressing the virus is the “essential foundation” for a sustainable economic recovery.

Ms Sturgeons aid: “Difficult though all of this is, we must guard against a reckless relaxation of lockdown measures.

“If we ease measures too quickly and allow the virus to run out of control again, that would be economically counterproductive but would also cost many more lives.”

The lockdown rules require in law to be reviewed this Thursday and some easing is expected that will see some sectors of the economy opening up gradually as Scotland moves into phase two of the Scottish Government’s four phase recovery programme.

The changes are expected to allow staff to be able to return to factories, construction would be able to continue its restart plan and non-essential retail will have an opening date.

Ms sturgeon said: “None of this will restore the economy immediately to full health but it will be a significant and sustainable improvement on our current position and that is, of course, important.

“That gradual re-emergence from lockdown is crucial, that is how we allow our businesses to start to operate and to make money again.”

Glasgow Times:

The First Minister reiterated calls for the job retention scheme put in place by the UK Government to be extended.

She also announced £230 million worth of support for the economy, which will be laid out by Finance Secretary Kate Forbes in the Scottish Parliament.

The First Minister said the funding will go towards maintenance for college and universities, roads and public transport, as well as investment in “companies of high potential”.

She said: “It will support, and is designed to support, projects that can provide an immediate boost to jobs and growth, while also helping to prepare our economy and our public services for the future.”

Giving the latest daily statistics the First Minister revealed five more deaths from Coronavirus taking he total to 2,453 patients in Scotland after testing positive for coronavirus.

She said another 15 people tested positive taking that total to 18,045 people.

There are currently 986 people in hospital with confirmed or suspected Covid-19, an increase of 116, but which is a decrease of 11 in confirmed cases.

While 19 people are in intensive care, an increase of one.

In Greater Glasgow and Clyde health board area there are 255 people in hospital and fewer than five in intensive care.