Coronavirus in Scotland: Potential for level four restrictions now to allow Christmas lockdown ease, says First Minister

Nicola Sturgeon has announced that she wants to ease coronavirus regulations for Christmas which could lead to level four restrictions being implemented in certain areas across Scotland beforehand.

The news comes as the First Minister is set to announce the outcome of the weekly review of coronavirus restriction levels tomorrow.

At today’s briefing, Ms Sturgeon said that there is still a “stubbornly high” prevalence of the virus in areas of the West of Scotland and Lanarkshire.

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She said: “A stubbornly high prevalence means that we might have less flexibility to offer some limited and careful easing of restrictions over the Christmas period, which we are very keen to do.”Moving to the strictest restrictions ‘for a limited period’, Ms Sturgeon said, would help the Scottish Government address the issue of Christmas as well as ensuring NHS capacity is protected.

The Dome on George Street. Picture Steven Scott Taylor
The Dome on George Street. Picture Steven Scott Taylor

The First Minister said: “Moving to level four restrictions for a limited period in some areas, while not a decision we’ll take lightly because of the wider economic and social impact, would help us to address both of these concerns."Speaking ahead of the announcement of changes to the framework on Tuesday, Ms Sturgeon urged people to adhere to local measures, saying: “Every time we stop someone, especially someone who is older and more vulnerable, then we give them a chance of living into the era – which is firmly on the horizon – where better therapies, vaccines, testing and treatments will be available.“I think that motivation as we are living under these restrictions right now is important to bear in mind.“The end is not quite with us but we can see hope on the horizon now that we couldn’t see just a few weeks ago.”

It is understood the tighter rules are likely to be in force for two weeks across 12 local authority areas. These are expected to be Glasgow, the three Ayrshire councils, the two Renfrewshire authorities, West and East Dunbartonshire, North and South Lanarkshire, Inverclyde and Stirling.

Ms Sturgeon was keen to emphasise today that the Scottish Government has not taken any decisions yet and they will also be considering which areas have the potential to go down a level.

The First Minister will announce the decisions tomorrow afternoon.

Possibility of level four restrictions introduced in certain parts of Scotland to ensure a Christmas lockdown ease.

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