Coronavirus in Scotland: Decision expected next week on planned move to level one

A decision will be made next week on whether coronavirus restrictions can be eased further in Scotland - with Nicola Sturgeon indicating not all of the country may be able to move to Level 1 early next month.

The First Minister has previously said she hopes mainland Scotland will be able to move to Level 1 - the second lowest in the five-tier system - from June 7.

Such a move would allow up to eight people from three households to meet indoors in pubs, cafes and bars, while up to 12 people from 12 different households could socialise together outside in gardens or outdoor public places.

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However a spike in coronavirus cases in Glasgow means the city will remain under Level 3 restrictions until at least June 5.

Coronavirus in Scotland: Decision expected next week on planned move to level one

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The city is currently the only part of Scotland where these tougher rules are imposed, and Ms Sturgeon suggested it may "have to be in Level 2 for a couple of weeks before it moves to Level 1".

Speaking at her latest coronavirus briefing on Friday, the First Minister said she will confirm "whether and to what extent" Scotland can move into Level 1 in a statement in Holyrood next Tuesday.

It comes as it is thought the latest variant of Covid-19, originating in India, now accounts for 50% or more of new cases of the virus in Scotland.

Ms Sturgeon also said the R number - the average number of people each person with Covid-19 goes on the infect - could be as high as 1.3, although she added this could be influenced "quite significantly" by the rising cases in Glasgow.

A number of Scottish islands are already in Level 1, and Ms Sturgeon said she remains "really optimistic" that there could be a similar easing of restrictions on the mainland as planned.

But she added: "Given that Glasgow is in a different level right now, I think it would not be an unreasonable assumption that it might also have to be in Level 2 for a couple of weeks before it moves to Level 1.

"That's an assumption at the moment, I will make these decisions on the basis of the up-to-date data.

"And of course the purpose of the levels system is that while yes, we want the country if possible all to be in the same level, it allows us to have that regional variation, so we're not holding back the Highlands because Glasgow has an outbreak.

"I can't rule out at any stage, particularly given we're seeing some areas with higher levels than others right now, that there will be a variable decision on Tuesday.

"But I really hope we will keep on the track that we set out. There is going to be bumps in the road, Glasgow is experiencing that right now, there may be other parts of the country experiencing that over weeks to come. That is in the nature of what we're dealing with.

"But I hope and remain really optimistic that we will stay on that forward track overall as a country."

Reporting by PA

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