Covid-19 in Scotland: Nationwide move to Level One delayed as Glasgow shift to Level Two confirmed
Several areas of Scotland will be kept in level two for an additional period of time in a bid to stave off a potential third wave of Covid-19 caused by the so-called Indian variant, Nicola Sturgeon has confirmed.
The First Minister also confirmed Glasgow will move to level two as planned at midnight on Friday after more than eight months in some of the strictest restrictions in the UK.
Edinburgh and Midlothian, Dundee, East Dunbartonshire, Renfrewshire and East Renfrewshire, all three Ayrshires, North and South Lanarkshire, Clackmannanshire and Stirling will remain in level two for a further period of time.
The plan had been to move much of Scotland down to level one by Tuesday, June 7, with a further move to level zero by the end of the month, but this will now not go ahead.
Instead the Highlands, Argyll and Bute, Aberdeen City and Aberdeenshire, Moray, Angus, Perth and Kinross, Falkirk, Fife, Inverclyde, East and West Lothian, West Dunbartonshire, Dumfries and Galloway, and the Borders will all move to level one at midnight on Friday, the First Minister said.
The move to level one will allow eight rather than six people from up to three households to socialise indoors, and allows groups of 12 from 12 households to socialise outdoors in these areas.
It will also see hospitality allowed to open indoors until 11pm, with the same restrictions on the number of households socialising as above.
All leisure and entertainment venues apart from adult entertainment and nightclubs will be allowed to reopen, with the maximum capacity for indoor events increased to 200, for outdoor seated events up to 1,000 and up to 500 for free-standing outdoor events.
Weddings, funeral and wakes or receptions will also see their attendance limit rise to 100.
The move to level two for Glasgow will see those living in the city able to welcome visitors, family members and friends into their homes for the first time in more than eight months.
Ms Sturgeon said: “In areas where cases are relatively high or rising, our judgment is that a slight slowing down of the easing of restrictions, to allow time for more people to be fully vaccinated, will help protect our progress overall.
"However, it is also our judgment that with case numbers as high as they are in these areas and with a substantial proportion of adults not yet double dosed - it is safer, and more likely to protect our progress overall, if we hold these areas in level two for a further period.
She added: “That means protecting the NHS can’t just be about preventing it from being completely overwhelmed - although that is of course vital. It must also be about protecting its ability to get services back to normal.
“So even although the health service ‘coped’ earlier this year, when more than 2,000 people were in hospital - albeit with enormous pressure on the workforce - that shouldn’t be our benchmark. Anything remotely like that again would set back efforts to get the NHS operating normally again.
“So this is a key and difficult moment. We remain on the right track overall. I remain confident that - with cautious, albeit difficult decisions now - we will enjoy much greater normality over the summer and beyond.”
The SNP leader added that Shetland, Orkney, the Western Isles and other islands currently in level one will move down to level zero at midnight on Friday.
Ms Sturgeon added that pre the vaccination rollout, moving to relax restrictions with case numbers as high as those experienced by Scotland would have been impossible.
Further work on life in Scotland after level zero will also be published in the coming weeks, the First Minister announced.
She said: “That reflects the fact that we are in a transition phase. The vaccines make the outlook positive, but the new variant means the road ahead is still potentially bumpy. So caution is necessary.
That said, no part of the country is going backwards today. Before the vaccines, that would have been impossible on case numbers like this.
“But the vaccines are changing the game and that means we can still be optimistic about our chances of much more normality over the summer and beyond.
“Indeed, in the days ahead, and while it may still feel a way off for many of us, we will publish more detailed work on what we expect life beyond level zero to look like, as that greater normality returns. Indeed, one reason for proceeding with more caution now, is to make it easier in the future to resume our progress to level zero - and then beyond.”
The First Minister added that 478 positive cases had been registered, with test positivity at 3.1 per cent.
A total of 106 people are in hospital, down four from yesterday, with 10 people in ICU, up two.
No deaths were reported yesterday.