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Covid in Scotland: Glasgow and Moray to remain under level 3 restrictions Covid in Scotland: Glasgow and Moray to remain under level 3 restrictions
(32 minutes later)
Covid in Scotland: Glasgow and Moray 'need more time in level 3'Covid in Scotland: Glasgow and Moray 'need more time in level 3'
Glasgow and Moray will remain under level three Covid restrictions for at least another week, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has announced.Glasgow and Moray will remain under level three Covid restrictions for at least another week, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has announced.
She said the "difficult" decision in Glasgow followed a rise in cases.She said the "difficult" decision in Glasgow followed a rise in cases.
Ms Sturgeon said the situation in the city was causing even more concern than Moray, which had already been warned it was likely to stay in level three.Ms Sturgeon said the situation in the city was causing even more concern than Moray, which had already been warned it was likely to stay in level three.
The decision means nearly 730,000 people in Glasgow and Moray will not move down to level two.The decision means nearly 730,000 people in Glasgow and Moray will not move down to level two.
Ms Sturgeon said initial research suggested that the outbreak centred in the south side of Glasgow was being driven by the Indian variant of the virus.Ms Sturgeon said initial research suggested that the outbreak centred in the south side of Glasgow was being driven by the Indian variant of the virus.
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The first minister added that people were being asked not to travel in or out of Glasgow and Moray for the coming week, unless the journey was for permitted purposes.The first minister added that people were being asked not to travel in or out of Glasgow and Moray for the coming week, unless the journey was for permitted purposes.
The rest of mainland Scotland will drop down to level two from Monday, and most islands will be placed in level one.The rest of mainland Scotland will drop down to level two from Monday, and most islands will be placed in level one.
Ms Sturgeon said: "It is inevitable that as we continue to navigate our way through this pandemic, we will hit bumps in the road.Ms Sturgeon said: "It is inevitable that as we continue to navigate our way through this pandemic, we will hit bumps in the road.
"However, if we exercise suitable caution as we're seeking to do today, then even though that is difficult, we are much more likely to stay on the right track overall.""However, if we exercise suitable caution as we're seeking to do today, then even though that is difficult, we are much more likely to stay on the right track overall."
The seven-day rate of cases per 100,000 population in Glasgow is 80.4, while in Moray it has fallen to 68.9.The seven-day rate of cases per 100,000 population in Glasgow is 80.4, while in Moray it has fallen to 68.9.
The rates are above 50 cases per 100,000, a key benchmark for deciding the appropriate tier of restrictions.The rates are above 50 cases per 100,000, a key benchmark for deciding the appropriate tier of restrictions.
The latest Public Health Scotland data shows that on 11 May, the rates per 100,000 population were also above that level in East Renfrewshire (52.3), Midlothian (50.8) and Clackmannanshire (50.4).The latest Public Health Scotland data shows that on 11 May, the rates per 100,000 population were also above that level in East Renfrewshire (52.3), Midlothian (50.8) and Clackmannanshire (50.4).
The Glasgow cases are concentrated mainly in the south of the city, with one district, Pollokshields West, seeing 47 positive cases over the previous seven days, giving a local case rate of 1,008 per 100,000 population.The Glasgow cases are concentrated mainly in the south of the city, with one district, Pollokshields West, seeing 47 positive cases over the previous seven days, giving a local case rate of 1,008 per 100,000 population.
The move to level two Covid restrictions on Monday in the rest of mainland Scotland will allow people to hug and visit other households indoors. Pubs and restaurants can also sell alcohol indoors.The move to level two Covid restrictions on Monday in the rest of mainland Scotland will allow people to hug and visit other households indoors. Pubs and restaurants can also sell alcohol indoors.
Ms Sturgeon said the Indian variant of the virus had been detected in Glasgow, which caused increased concern among public health advisers and the government.Ms Sturgeon said the Indian variant of the virus had been detected in Glasgow, which caused increased concern among public health advisers and the government.
"We do not yet have a full understanding of the impact of this variant, including on the protection afforded by the vaccines," she said."We do not yet have a full understanding of the impact of this variant, including on the protection afforded by the vaccines," she said.
"I do want to stress that nothing at this stage suggests it is causing more severe illness."I do want to stress that nothing at this stage suggests it is causing more severe illness.
"However, it is thought that this variant could be significantly more transmissible than even the Kent variant that was identified before Christmas - and that alone calls for an appropriate degree of caution.""However, it is thought that this variant could be significantly more transmissible than even the Kent variant that was identified before Christmas - and that alone calls for an appropriate degree of caution."
She added that public health teams were "optimistic that enhanced testing and vaccination will be capable of getting this situation under control".She added that public health teams were "optimistic that enhanced testing and vaccination will be capable of getting this situation under control".
Ms Sturgeon also said there were "grounds for cautious optimism that the situation is improving" in Moray.Ms Sturgeon also said there were "grounds for cautious optimism that the situation is improving" in Moray.
However, the number of cases is still more than double the Scottish average.However, the number of cases is still more than double the Scottish average.
The first minister said it was "prudent" to keep the area in level three for another week "so we can be more confident that the situation is firmly under control".The first minister said it was "prudent" to keep the area in level three for another week "so we can be more confident that the situation is firmly under control".
The deputy director of public health at NHS Grampian, Chris Littlejohn, said: "The current restrictions and interventions appear to be working.The deputy director of public health at NHS Grampian, Chris Littlejohn, said: "The current restrictions and interventions appear to be working.
"This is not the moment to lower our guard - but we hope we can see the end of the current outbreak not too far ahead if we stick with it.""This is not the moment to lower our guard - but we hope we can see the end of the current outbreak not too far ahead if we stick with it."
NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde is encouraging all people in the hotpspot areas to visit a Covid testing centre. It said it was "actively pursuing" ways to ensure vaccination uptake was as high as possible.
Glasgow Chamber of Commerce's chief executive, Stuart Patrick, said the decision was "deeply disappointing" and that many businesses would have been "caught up in developments outside their control".Glasgow Chamber of Commerce's chief executive, Stuart Patrick, said the decision was "deeply disappointing" and that many businesses would have been "caught up in developments outside their control".
Andrew McRae, from the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) Scotland, said local businesses and customers in Glasgow and Moray would be "crushed".Andrew McRae, from the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) Scotland, said local businesses and customers in Glasgow and Moray would be "crushed".
"The damage of this change, especially in Glasgow, is exacerbated by the lateness of this announcement," he said."The damage of this change, especially in Glasgow, is exacerbated by the lateness of this announcement," he said.
"It means wasted stock, disappointed customers and increased debt.""It means wasted stock, disappointed customers and increased debt."
Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar said: "This decision will come as a disappointment to many, but I fully understand and appreciate the need for this action.Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar said: "This decision will come as a disappointment to many, but I fully understand and appreciate the need for this action.
"If the right action is taken now, we can get Glasgow and Moray back on track and into level two as soon as safely possible.""If the right action is taken now, we can get Glasgow and Moray back on track and into level two as soon as safely possible."
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