Covid: Edinburgh's council chief told to expect level three restrictions will remain in force

The Scottish government has told Edinburgh council chiefs to expect to remain at level three of the coronavirus restrictions, and that it is considering moving parts of the west of Scotland to level four.

Chief: Andrew Kerr
Chief: Andrew Kerr

The chief executive of Edinburgh City Council, Andrew Kerr, today gave an update to councillors outlining the outcome of a meeting between Deputy First Minister John Swinney and council leaders last night.

Speaking at a meeting of the council’s policy and sustainability committee, Mr Kerr said: “This will be a very up to date update as I was speaking to the Deputy First Minister last night.

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“So, it is very likely, though not confirmed, that Scottish government and the cabinet will be recommending that we stay in tier three for another week.

Meeting: Education Secretary and Deputy First Minister John Swinney

“That is on the basis that although our numbers are low, there is a slight increase over the last period, and I’ll quote you the numbers.

“On the 21st of October we were 96.58 cases per 100,000, that went down to 78.3 the next week, but then rose again to 94 on the second of the tenth, and is now at 104.32.

“So although the numbers remain low relative to other local authorities, that are actually plateauing, ours are getting slightly worse and the government feels that to be sure of those numbers remaining low that we should wait another week before any consideration of tier two is taken and that will be the recommendation given to cabinet today.

“The feedback we’ve had from the business community is that we don’t want to go down to tier two then go back to tier three the next week because we’re on the cusp, and that’s the danger here of treating these numbers as mathematical certainties - a number of things get taken into consideration, including the numbers for our surrounding local authorities.”

Mr Kerr also said the cabinet will be giving consideration to moving parts of the west of Scotland to the highest level of coronavirus restrictions.

He said: “Consideration will be given today by cabinet to what happens in the west of Scotland, those designated at tier three, and whether in fact it should be tier four, because their numbers are very obviously higher than the Lothians in particular.

“Although the numbers remain low they aren’t going down, in fact they’re going up slightly, so the government and public health feel it is better to remain at tier three for another week to make sure that these numbers remain stable.”

Joseph Anderson, Local Democracy Reporting Service

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