Dr Hilary Jones outlines plans for coronavirus ‘booster jabs’
According to the latest figures by Public Health Scotland, Glasgow’s seven-day average case rate has increased to 133.3 cases per 100,000 population. This is based on people who were tested between May 14 and 20.
It comes amid concern about the new Indian covid variant, which is believed to be driving an outbreak in the south side.
The figure is not too far off the 150 cases per threshold for when a local authority in Scotland is likely to end up under level four lockdown restrictions as per the Scottish Government’s latest strategic framework which was revised back in March this year.
The city could be plunged into the Level 4 lockdown threshold if cases continue to rise.
This would mean hospitality venues in the city would have to once again close and only essential shops allowed to remain open.
Glasgow could be plunged into level 4 restrictions
Scotland began to ease lockdown last month
If the city is moved into Level 4, it would mean close contact services (except for non-mobile hairdressers and barbers), gyms and swimming pools, libraries and all indoor visitor attractions would be required to close.
Glaswegians would also be banned from travelling outside the city unless they have a “reasonable excuse to travel” such as going to work.
Glasgow, much like the rest of Scotland, moved to Level 3 restrictions on April 26.
This comes after new Health Secretary Humza Yousaf said he understands why Glaswegians are “feeling somewhat despondent”.
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Scotland began to ease lockdown last month
He told BBC Radio Scotland today: “It’s a really difficult balance and I can completely understand why people in Glasgow are feeling somewhat despondent.
“But I can just give you an absolute promise and assurance – nobody in Government wants to keep anyone under any form of restrictions for a minute longer than it has to be.
“The reason why we took the decisions in relation to Glasgow is because we feel they are absolutely necessary to contain particularly the new variant, the April 2 variant of the virus, which is thought to be more transmissible.
“And if we control it now then it means we hopefully will avoid future lockdowns in the months to come.”
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Coronavirus cases across the UK
Earlier this month, Ms Sturgeon announced Glasgow and Moray will remain in the highest level as restrictions across Scotland begin to ease.
The situation in Glasgow, the First Minister said, is causing even more concern than Moray, with initial research suggesting the outbreak could be being driven by the Indian variant of the virus.
Ms Sturgeon said: “I know how disappointing this will be, but pressing pause for a few days will hopefully avoid a situation in which we have to impose even more restrictive measures over the next few weeks.”
People are being advised not to travel in or out of the affected council areas, while Ms Sturgeon added she was optimistic that increased testing and vaccination would help to curb the increased spread of the virus.
Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon
Despite the rising cases in Glasgow and Moray, Ms Sturgeon has said Scotland’s battle against coronavirus “remains good”.
She added: “It is inevitable that as we continue to navigate our way through this pandemic, we will hit bumps in the road, however, if we exercise suitable caution as we’re seeking to do today, then even though that is difficult, we are much more likely to stay on the right track overall.”
Public health experts previously warned a spike in infections across Glasgow could be linked to the so-called B.1.617.2 variant.
This variant was first identified in India and has been labelled a “variant of concern” by Public Health England (PHE).
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Dr Susan Hopkins, COVID-19 Strategic Response Director at PHE, said: “Cases of this variant are rising in the community and we are continuously monitoring its spread and severity to ensure we take rapid public health action.
“We need to act collectively and responsibly to ensure that variants do not impact on the progress we have all made to drive down levels of Covid-19 and the increased freedom that brings.
“That means you should pay attention to and act on the local health advice in your area.
“Testing and isolating when required not only limits spread, it helps us to better understand how the variant behaves in the community which is vital to taking effective and proportionate action moving forward.”