LiveNicola Sturgeon daily briefing RECAP: Gatherings limited to six amid rise in Covid-19 cases, phase 4 delayed

Updates on Covid-19 in Scotland.

Thursday, 10th September 2020, 7:42 am
Updated Thursday, 10th September 2020, 2:00 pm

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Coronavirus in Scotland: The latest updates on Thursday

Last updated: Thursday, 10 September, 2020, 13:26

  • Nicola Sturgeon says lockdown restrictions will not be eased
  • Scotland’s new Covid-19 contact tracing app goes live
  • New rules on social gatherings

Over 200,000 people have downloaded Protect Scotland app

Scottish government is considering testing at airports

"We are working with the UK government to try to advance mass community testing," says Ms Sturgeon.

On the subject of the new Scottish contact tracing app, Ms Sturgeon says: "The more people that sign up the better, everybody who signs up is making a contribution."

Ms Sturgeon insists it is “vital” to stop rising case numbers before winter. She said this was the reason for the changes she announced, adding: “These steps are necessary to help curb a virus that we know spreads rapidly whenever it gets the chance."

Nicola Sturgeon said: “The pause in our routemap and the new restrictions I have outlined today are not welcome. I know that – the Scottish Government did not want to have to impose them. But they are necessary.

“And they reflect the fact that Scotland – like the rest of the UK, Europe and the world – is currently in a precarious position.”

But she insisted that the country was “in a much better position than in late March”, saying prevalence of the virus was lower than then and that the rise in cases was “not as rapid” as earlier in the year.

“So we still have grounds for cautious hope. But we have no grounds for complacency,” she said.

Nicola Sturgeon accepted the new announcements would be “hard for people to hear”.

She said: “I know that after six long, hard months, we are still asking the public to make a lot of difficult sacrifices.

“That is unavoidable, given the nature of the challenge we face.

“However, I want to be clear that while we still face a battle to get and keep Covid under control, we are in a stronger position than earlier in the year.”

She said the Test and Protect contact tracing system was “working well”, adding that without this “the virus would be spreading further and faster, and we would require to apply much stricter lockdown measures again.”

She also spoke about a “significant enhancement” to this system, the new Protect Scotland contact tracing app.

Nicola Sturgeon also announced new measures affecting the hospitality industry.

The Scottish Government will make it mandatory for customers in bars, restaurants and cafes to wear face coverings when they are moving around and not eating or drinking – for example when entering a premises, going to a table, or to the toilet.

In addition to this it will also become mandatory – rather than simply guidance – for staff working in hospitality premises to wear face coverings.

The First Minister said: “The hospitality industry has put a lot of effort into creating safe spaces for people to meet and we hope these additional protections will help ensure the sector can remain open, with high levels of compliance.”

Here's everything you need to know about the new Protect Scotland app - and how to download it

The First Minister said there would be some “limited exceptions” for the new limit of six people in any gathering, for organised sports and places of worship.

She added that any children under 12 who are part of two households meeting up would not count towards the limit of six people.

And she said: “Lastly, given the importance of these life events and the distress caused by not being able to mark them, we intend to allow a limited exception for funerals, weddings and civil partnerships.

“Already, up to 20 people can attend ceremonies for these occasions. We intend to retain that limit for now.”

In addition from Monday up to 20 people will be allowed to attend wakes and receptions “as long as they take place in regulated venues like hotels with strict guidance in place”.

Nicola Sturgeon said she was asking people to follow the new rules on gatherings immediately, but said the regulations that would give them legal force would come into effect from Monday.

Nicola Sturgeon went on to announce that people would only now be able to meet up in groups of six – whether inside or outside.

She said: “We have concluded that it is necessary to tighten some existing restrictions, to help curb the spread of the virus especially between and within households.

“As of now, up to eight people from three households can meet indoors. Larger outdoor gatherings are also permitted.

“I can confirm that we intend to change this, so that a maximum of six people from two households will now be permitted to meet together.”

She added: “To help reduce transmission – but also simplify the rules as much as possible – this new limit will apply both indoors, in houses, in pubs and restaurants, and also outdoors including in private gardens.”

“As we released ourselves from lockdown, we also released the virus,” says First Minister

The First Minister announced reopenings she had previously indicated could take place from September 14 would have to be put on hold for a further three week.

Nicola Sturgeon said: “Taking account of all the most up-to-date information we have, it is the Scottish Government’s judgment that we cannot at this stage risk the new opportunities for transmission of Covid that reopening further services and facilities would entail.”

She added: “Unfortunately, due to the rise in cases we have seen since then, we have concluded that these changes must be paused for a further three weeks.”

She said that the decision “means unfortunately spectators will not be able to return to sports stadia and other venues over the next three weeks” with a new indicative date given of October 5.

The decision also affects theatres, live music venues and indoor soft play facilities.

Nicola Sturgeon says the provisional data indicates the breakdown of new cases is as follows: NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde: 65; NHS Lanarkshire: 46; NHS Lothian: 12; NHS Ayrshire & Arran: 8. Remainder spread across 8 other health boards.

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