Scotland at 'crucial juncture' in pandemic, Nicola Sturgeon says
Scotland is at a “particularly crucial juncture” in the coronavirus pandemic, Nicola Sturgeon has said, while announcing new restrictions for parts of the country.
Three council areas – Fife, Angus and Perth and Kinross – will be moved from level two up to level three in the Scottish Government’s tiered system from Friday.
While restrictions otherwise remain broadly the same, Sturgeon warned that parts of central Scotland were of “particular concern” and could soon be placed into the highest category if existing restrictions don’t prove effective.
No council areas will be moved down a level following the first weekly review since the Scottish Government’s new strategic approach to tackling COVID-19 was introduced.
But some central belt areas may face going into level four, which would see restrictions close to lockdown imposed, if they remain on their current trajectory.
Sturgeon said: “We are particularly concerned about Inverclyde and Stirling and, to a lesser extent, South Ayrshire, Renfrewshire and East Renfrewshire.
“The advice of the Chief Medical Officer and the National Clinical Director is that since these areas are already in tougher level three restrictions, and given the need to understand the situations in these areas in more detail, an immediate move to level four would not be merited.
She added: “However, the advice is that we should monitor the data for these areas closely and on a daily basis.”
Sturgeon also confirmed that in the previous 24 hours 832 people had tested positive for COVID-19, representing 9.5 per cent of newly tested people, and there had been 39 registered deaths.
In Orkney, Shetland and the Western Isles, where prevalence of the virus is much lower, up to six people from two households will be allowed to meet inside their homes from Friday.
People travelling to and from the mainland will be encouraged to avoid indoor visiting with other households for a period after their travel.
Sturgeon said: “The best chance all of us have of avoiding a move to level four, or indeed of moving our areas down a level, is to stick with it and to abide by all of the current restrictions.
“I know fatigue is setting in and frustration is setting in too. But I appeal to everyone across the country, particularly if you may have been letting your guard drop recently, please redouble your efforts in the days ahead.”
She added that restrictions would work only if “all of us do all of the right things, all of the time”.