Coronavirus in Scotland: Midlothian covid rules will not change but Glasgow will 'regrettably' stay in stricter level 3 restrictions
Nicola Sturgeon has announced that most of mainland Scotland will remain in Level 2, including the Lothians, but “regrettably” Glasgow will remain in Level 3 for another week.
Speaking at a lunchtime coronavirus briefing on Friday, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon confirmed that Glasgow will remain in Level 3 for at least another week as it has not yet “turned the corner”.
The First Minister said that over the last 10 days, extensive public health measures were implemented across Glasgow but despite efforts cases continue to rise.
The government believes that this increase is partly due to the new Indian variant in circulation.
She said that the Indian variant – which will be referred to as the April 02 variant going forward – is causing particular concern, and may actually be “even more transmissible” than the Kent variant.
Ms Sturgeon said that she understands the news will not be welcome in Glasgow but she “hopes this will not be for much longer”.
She has suggested that Glasgow will be reviewed weekly, but she does not know yet when the level will be reduced.
Asked if there is any possibility that Glasgow will move to Level 4, she said that she couldn’t rule it out but that everything they are doing now – based on the knowledge of the success of the vaccination process – is “intended to avoid that”.
The announcement continued with Ms Sturgeon confirming that East Renfrewshire will remain in Level 2, despite the rise in cases there.
She said that the area had been subject to “particularly close examination” this week but that after careful discussions they felt it was not necessary to move it into stricter restrictions at the moment.
The situation in Moray has improved significantly said Ms Sturgeon, therefore the area will move from Level 3 to Level 2 from midnight tonight.
Ms Sturgeon added that she appreciates that there may be apparent inconsistencies in the decision, but that they are always seeking to be as “proportionate” as possible when deciding which restrictions to implement.
National Clinical Director Professor Jason Leitch said that the advice provided to the First Minister is based on the differences between the two outbreaks in Glasgow and East Renfrewshire, and while case numbers are rising in both areas, they are not identical situations, therefore they require different approaches.
Aside from these areas of concern, Ms Sturgeon said that the figures today across much of the country remain at relatively low levels which is positive, adding that while there are “no grounds for complacency”, we are “much closer to the end of these kinds of restrictions in Scotland”.
Ms Sturgeon added that she was really looking forward to the prospect of giving her parents a hug this weekend, but because she lives in Glasgow that is not possible now so she “understands how hard this is”.
Asked about international travel, the First Minister said she recognises travelling abroad is not just about holidays, for a lot of people it is to see their family, but her advice is people should not be travelling unless they absolutely have to, she said “the safest thing to do if you possibly can manage it is to stay in Scotland”.
Despite the announcements, Ms Sturgeon said she is optimistic of a summer of “greater normality”.