Coronavirus in Scotland: leaked document reveals which areas may be moved to 'level 4' of the new tier system

A leaked report says that ‘Level 4 is being considered for North and South Lanarkshire’ as part of the new tier system which is due to be announced by the Scottish Government tomorrow in a parliamentary debate.

Leaked document reveals two areas in Scotland which may be considered for 'level 4' of new tier system.
Leaked document reveals two areas in Scotland which may be considered for 'level 4' of new tier system.

Ahead of the announcement, the chief executive of the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (COSLA), has written to council leaders, giving them a strong indication of what tier of restrictions their authorities will be subject to.

The letter begins by clarifying that the restrictions already in place across the central belt in Scotland are equivalent to what will be known as ‘level 3’ in the new system.

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Restrictions in the rest of Scotland are currently equivalent to ‘level 2’.

Level three of the tier system would mean alcohol sales both indoors and outdoors will not be permitted, although some restaurants may be able to open under strict conditions.

The confidential letter continues: “Changes from these levels, whether up or down, need to be justified by the data, supported by public health advice and consistent with the

Scottish Government’s Covid-19 Framework for Decision-Making.”

The letter states that Ministers will only consider using ‘level 4’ if necessary, given the severity of the impact of the restrictions in place at this tier.

North and South Lanarkshire are currently the only two areas in the country that data suggests may be considered for ‘level 4’ in the new restriction system but there are

signs which indicates that the situations in these council areas may be stabilising according to the COSLA.

The letter continues: "Ministers will not reach a decision for these two areas until the latest possible point to ensure that they can take account of the fullest possible picture of the

effect of measures already in place; but at this stage the use of Level 4 cannot be ruled out.

"If it was necessary, it would be used to avoid still greater harm, including many deaths.

"No changes are currently being considered in relation to other central belt areas. If that remains the case and is confirmed later this week, these areas would remain in Level 3 for the time being.”

There are signs of progress being made in Edinburgh and East Lothian but ‘further consolidation of that progress is likely to be required before it would be safe, on public health grounds, to move them to Level 2.’

The rest of the letter reads: “The data for Dundee City also gives cause for concern, with rising numbers of cases.

“Again, a final decision will be made on the basis of data becoming available in the next few days. Meantime, consideration is being given to moving Dundee City to Level 3 in the

new framework, broadly equivalent to the measures currently in place in the central belt.

“Further consideration is also being given to the interaction between Dundee and neighbouring areas within the Tayside Health Board area.

“At this crucial stage in suppressing the virus, with higher case numbers, the winter approaching, and the introduction of a new strategic framework, the public health advice to

Ministers is that it would not be safe to move any area straight to the lowest level, Level 0.”

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