Nicola Sturgeon advised by health experts to move Edinburgh to level 2, according to leaked document

Health chiefs recommended the First Minister move Scotland’s capital into Level 2 of the country’s tier system last week after the city showed “substantial improvement”, according to a leaked document seen by The Telegraph.

The Scottish Government paper, which was produced by public health officials to advise Nicola Sturgeon ahead last week’s review on restrictions, said Edinburgh was within “Level 1 range” after Covid-19 cases in the area had “trended consistently downwards.”

It went on to confirm the city’s forecast was deemed "now very low" and, referring to NHS Lothian's director of public health (DPH), the report concluded: "DPH recommendation is for a move to Level 2."

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But the Scottish Government published an edited version of the paper as Ms Sturgeon announced on Tuesday last week that Edinburgh was to stay in Level 3.

Its version failed to mention public health officials' recommendations and omitted a warning that "additional control measures are required to control the situation" in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire, both of which have been kept in Level 2 despite their higher Covid rates than the capital.

Midlothian was also told to stay in Level 3 despite the paper confirming the local authority was "in the lower end of the range for Level 2."

Ms Sturgeon is due to give her weekly update on Covid-19 restrictions across Scotland on Tuesday, 15 December.

The leaked paper has added more pressure on the SNP leader to move Edinburgh from it’s controversial Level 3 down to Level 2.

Restrictions in places under Level 3 means pubs and restaurants continue having to close at 6pm and are barred from serving alcohol. Licensed premises in Level 2 areas can open indoors until 8pm and outdoors until 10.30pm.

Those living in Level 3 areas are also banned from travelling to other local authorities while residents from Level 1 and 2 areas can move freely between council areas that share their tier of restrictions.

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