Nicola Sturgeon said the number of cases remain “uncomfortably high”.
Glasgow has spent a long time under strict measures and the First Minister has announced that the city will remain under Level 3 restrictions for another week. Nicola Sturgeon shared the decision during a Covid-19 briefing this afternoon, stating that it would be “premature” to move Glasgow City out of the current restrictions to Level 2.
The situation is expected to be reviewed again on June 2, with the hope of moving the city to Level 2 restrictions by June 5, if figures continue to stabilise. The First Minister announced that new cases of Covid-19 have continued to rise in the past week, with the Indian variant accounting for half of the cases.
However, she described the number of cases in the city as “uncomfortably high”, noting that cases have continued to rise by about 30% from 112 to 146 per 100,000 per population, while case numbers in Scotland have increased by more than a quarter in the past week. The First Minister confirmed 641 new cases in Scotland – the largest daily number of cases since March 25- with 234 of these cases recorded in the NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde area and 104 in Lanarkshire.
Nicola Sturgeon said in the briefing that they are seeing a stabilisation in cases, with postcodes initially at the heart of the outbreak falling, plus hospital admissions remain stable and ICU numbers also remain low. The First Minister said: “The view of the National Incident Management Team is that it would be premature to move Glasgow out of level three immediately, while the situation remains so fragile.”
According to the First Minister, the increase in case numbers are said to be mainly concentrated in younger groups, which indicates vaccination is having a protective effect for older people. Nicola Sturgeon said: “We do think that vaccination is changing the impact that the virus has and will allow us to change the way we respond to the virus. Our understanding is still developing, it’s not complete. We still need to exercise a degree of caution.”
In the Covid-19 briefing, the First Minister said she had also considered whether restrictions needed to be stepped up in Renfrewshire, East Renfrewshire and Clackmannanshire, which have relatively high case numbers. But she said these areas all have “low absolute numbers of cases” as they have relatively low populations, and that public health teams there believe the outbreaks are being controlled.
Glasgow has been under strict covid measures for 270 days, and is the only part of Scotland under Level 3 lockdown rules, prohibiting non-essential travel out of the area and imposing greater restrictions on socialising, hospitality and businesses.