Nicola Sturgeon hoping that ‘most of the country’ can move to level one at next review
Nicola Sturgeon is hoping that “most of the country” can go down to level one at the next review of restrictions, she said at today’s lunchtime coronavirus briefing.
Asked why Dumfries and Galloway was still in level two despite very low case numbers, the First Minister answered that case numbers were not the only factor that was considered in setting the level of restrictions.
Other considerations include proximity to areas with higher numbers of cases.
But she added that the Scottish Government was hoping to move Dumfries and Galloway to a a lower level soon, along with other parts of the country.
Speaking at the briefing, she said: “In answer to your question when do we hope Dumfries and Galloway will go down a level, then that is at the next review point, when we’re hoping that most of the country, if not all of the country, can go down to level one.
“Now, clearly Glasgow is still at level three so there’s, you know, we’ve got to get Glasgow down to level two first, but we hope that the direction of travel for the rest of the country will continue to be down those levels of protection back to level zero at some point over the next few weeks, all being well, and then into a situation beyond level zero, which we’ll set out more detail on shortly.”
At the briefing, Sturgeon called the new easily transmitted Indian variant of the virus “a bump in the road” and said there was “reason to be cautiously optimistic” but “a significant degree of caution is still appropriate”.
In Glasgow case numbers have risen from 112 to 137 per 100,000, but the First Minister said there had been signs in the last few days that cases might be stabilising and that test positivity had not been shooting up.
In Scotland as a whole there were 318 new cases yesterday, 149 of those in the Greater Glasgow and Clyde health board areas, six people were in intensive care and there had been two deaths.
The test positivity rate was two per cent.
Sturgeon said that a key issue being looked at is whether the vaccine is now breaking the link between rising case numbers and increased hospitalisation and deaths, which would be “a key factor in decision-making in the coming days”.
She said they would be looking at hospital and ICU admissions before making a decision on levels later this week.
While the First Minister explained that the intention was still to keep case numbers as low as possible, she said that vaccination gave “different tools in our box to control the virus”, with the possibility that vaccination could replace restrictions in controlling it.
Regarding the reported high rate of non-attendance at vaccination appointments in Glasgow over the weekend, where around half of appointments were missed, Sturgeon said there would be “a variety of reasons for this and some of them will not be down to the individual” and overall vaccine uptake rates “remain incredibly high”.
She added that getting vaccinated was not just about protecting ourselves, but was also “part of our civic duty to each other and to our wider communities”.
She encouraged those who thought they should have had an appointment but hadn’t to go to the NHS Inform website to arrange one and for those between 18 and 19 to go online and register for vaccination to ensure their details are correct.