Covid Scotland: Edinburgh leaders urge caution as cases continue to rise

Edinburgh City Council and NHS Lothian leaders have urged caution as Covid cases in the Lothians continue to rise.

Tuesday, 29th June 2021, 6:12 pm

East Lothian has the second highest case rate per 100,000 population in Scotland, at 661, followed by Midlothian and the city of Edinburgh.

In Edinburgh the case rate is 573 per 100,000. In Scotland as a whole it is 340.

Council leader Adam McVey asked residents to “continue to take care” in light of the high numbers.

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Asymptomatic Covid testing in Edinburgh. Picture: Greg Macvean

"The city is beginning to open up, returning a sense of normality to our daily lives, but we really must continue to take care by continuing to wash hands and using sanitiser regularly and physical distancing when out enjoying all our city and its businesses has to offer,” he said.

"With the weather still getting better, continuing to meet up with friends and family outdoors where possible can help drive the numbers down and keep the freedoms we’re starting to enjoy again.”

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First Minister Nicola Sturgeon urged caution across the country, as she told a media briefing on Tuesday Scotland was at a “critical moment”.

Asked if the high case rates in East Lothian, which is in level one restrictions, were a case for getting rid of the levels system, Ms Sturgeon said no change would be made before all areas are set to move to level zero on July 19.

Dona Milne, director of public health at NHS Lothian said: "As the restrictions begin to ease and the list of things we can do begins to increase, it's tempting to think that it's safe.

"The virus is still around us and it doesn't mean that these things can be done without face masks, handwashing and social distancing. We cannot afford to return to normal just because we want it so badly. Lives may depend on it.

"We know that the weather is better and people want to get together and mix with friends, especially outdoors. As our worlds open up these things are allowed, and as we know outside is always safer, but we still need to think about maintaining our distance and wearing face masks when we can't."

It comes as NHS Lothian delivered its millionth vaccine on Tuesday, to student Orken Simsek, 20, at the Royal Highland Showground.