New coronavirus cases in every mainland health board in Scotland
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has warned that Scotland may not be able to move into phase four of the route out of lockdown as she revealed new coronavirus cases have been detected in every mainland health board in Scotland in the past 24 hours.
The Scottish Government is required to review lockdown restrictions every three weeks, with the next review due on Thursday, but due to a rise in cases of COVID-19, Sturgeon signalled there may not be any further easing of restrictions at the moment.
There have been 176 positive tests across the country since Monday, including 91 in NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, where visiting restrictions are in place.
Speaking at her daily coronavirus briefing, she said: “It's only fair that I signal now that, while final decisions have not yet been taken, when we do our latest three-weekly review on Thursday, we may well not be able to go ahead with any further easing of restrictions at this time.”
Sturgeon also confirmed that three people had died after testing positive for the virus, which is the highest number of deaths recorded on the same day since 30 June.
She issued a plea to everyone living in Scotland to continue to follow the government guidelines and said that the virus is accelerating and will continue to do so unless people stick to the rules.
She stated that the virus is more prevalent in the 18-39 age group, so issued a specific plea to younger people to be cautious when socialising in pubs and restaurants.
She said: “One point I would stress here is there has always been and remains a responsibility for customers. The rules on indoor meetings still apply in pubs. When you go out there should be no more than eight people from a maximum of three households in any group in a pub or restaurant.
“Different households should physically distance. If you arrive in a bar that is a bit too crowded and where physical distancing is difficult, my advice would be not to stay there. Try to find a venue that is less busy.
“And when you do go out, it's far better to stay in one pub than to visit several. If you spend time in three or four different bars, you're significantly increasing the number of people who could transmit COVID to you."
She added: “This is an area that we know is hard to regulate, and we don't want, if we can avoid it, to have to create new rules or laws. But there is clearly a responsibility for individuals here.
“The hospitality sector has reopened, and we want people to support the sector and of course to be able to safely enjoy themselves. But we are still living in a global pandemic.
“That pandemic is now accelerating again across the country, and still accelerating across the world. So, you should not be socialising in the same way as you were last year, or the earlier part of this year before the pandemic struck."
While many of the recent cases have centred around Greater Glasgow and Clyde, the First Minister said the fact that there are now cases reported in every Scottish health board on the mainland is a warning to us all.
“The final point that I want to make is that the situation I've outlined today is a sharp reminder for all of us - not just for people in Greater Glasgow and Clyde - but for all of us that COVID unfortunately is spreading again."
Sturgeon highlighted the “pleading in her voice” during the briefing, and stressed it was important to tackle the rise in cases now before it became too late and the virus took control again.
She added: “We don't live in entirely generationally-segregated ways. If transmission becomes established in the young population, it will eventually reach the older, more vulnerable population.
“So, to younger people, please think about your loved ones as well as yourselves, which I know everybody does."