Circuit breaker lockdown not under consideration as COVID cases surge
The First Minister has said a circuit breaker lockdown is not under consideration as the Scottish Government responds to soaring numbers of coronavirus cases.
Nicola Sturgeon quashed speculation on the return of severe restrictions for a temporary period, which had emerged earlier this week, as she confirmed 6,835 new cases of COVID have been reported in Scotland.
At a briefing today, she said: "We are not currently considering a circuit breaker lockdown."
The statement followed a report in the Times, which said health experts were lining up a series of options for the First Minister to stem the recent surge in cases, including a circuit breaker, new social distancing rules and vaccine passports.
On Tuesday, the First Minister had refused to rule out reimposing some restrictions if high case numbers led to a substantial increase in serious illness.
But she did say that if measures were introduced, they would be as "limited and proportionate" as possible - a stance which she reinforced at today's briefing.
Although new case numbers near 7,000, it should be noted that a record numbers of tests were carried out yesterday.
There are currently 479 people in hospital confirmed to have the virus, a significant increase from the 312 that was recorded last Friday.
Sturgeon said: "It is important to point out that case numbers are rising across the UK just now, but after a period of slower increases in Scotland, the rise here is particularly sharp at the moment.
"That is possibly, at least in part, a reflection of the fact that our schools return earlier with the increased interactions that come with that.
"And although vaccination has significantly weakened the link between a high volume of new cases and serious harm to health, it hasn't completely broken that link.
"So even if a much smaller proportion of people who get COVID now need to go to hospital, which is the case thankfully, basic arithmetic tells us that a small percentage of a large number is still going to be a significant number of people."