The rule on travelling to the North West of England came into effect on June 21.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has announced today that the temporary travel restriction between Scotland and parts of north west England will be lifted. The current travel ban between Scotland and Manchester and Salford, which came into effect on June 21, will be eased at midnight tonight (June 29). A travel restriction on the Greater Manchester area of Bolton, which has been in place since 24 May, will also be eased.
However, the First Minister confirmed during today’s Covid-19 briefing that a travel ban will remain in place between Scotland and Lancashire local authority area, Blackburn with Darwen, located north of Manchester. Blackburn with Darwen continues to experience concerning Covid-19 case rates of the more transmissible Delta variant and the travel restrictions regarding this area are expected to be reviewed next week.
Parts of east-central Scotland are said to have now overtaken north-west England to become the UK’s main Covid-19 hotspot, according to new analysis by the PA news agency. Nicola Sturgeon announced the daily number of positive cases of Covid-19 reported to be 3,118- one of the highest records- and East Lothian is now the local area with the highest rate of new cases in the UK, with 595.8 cases per 100,000 people in the seven days to June 24.
The First Minister said: “Today’s case numbers reinforce the pattern that we have seen in the last week. There has been a much faster increase in cases than at any time since the start of the year. In fact, over the last 7 days we have reported more than twice as many new cases as we did in the previous week. In recent days, the numbers of positive cases being reported has been higher than at any previous point in the pandemic.
“It’s important to put that in context. Firstly, and let me be clear that this is early days and we need to monitor this over the course of coming days. When we look at cases over the past week by the date the specimen was taken, as opposed to the date on which we report the test result, then what we see is a peak in cases last Tuesday and since then we have seen what appears to be a slowing down of the rate of increase. That’s encouraging, but again, I would stress that it is early days. We’ll want to monitor this carefully over the days to come, and see what it looks like a week from now.”
This rise in cases has led to the Scottish government publishing a video where Nicola Sturgeon asks for extra caution to help slow down the spread and allow the vaccination programme to get ahead. In the covid-19 briefing, the First Minister said ” Without vaccination, the level of restrictions that are in place now would undoubtedly be leading to far higher case numbers than is actually the case.”
Nicola Sturgeon said she remains hopeful that she can continue lifting restrictions on July 19 and August 9, but says how safely we get there depends on what we do now. She added: “This is a critical moment – I really can’t stress that enough – and over the next few weeks, it demands renewed care and vigilance from all of us.”
The First Minister ended her statement by saying: “My appeal to everyone today is a serious one. While we work hard to get people vaccinated, please help keep the virus at bay by taking care and following all of the vital health advice. I really do know everyone is sick of it – and include myself in that – and many are frustrated because we might think others are not taking it as seriously as we have been. But we are so close now to reaching the light at the end of the tunnel.
“Having come so far, let’s redouble our efforts just for a few more weeks to make sure we get there as safely as possible. There are three key things in particular that each of us need to do right now, to get to those milestones with as little health impact as we can. I know everybody’s heard this before but I’m stressing it again for a reason – with case levels so high, it really is vital that we all play our part in slowing the virus down while the vaccines continue to get ahead and do their work.”
Find out all travel restrictions on the Scottish government website.