Covid showing almost no sign of 'abating' in Scotland, says John Swinney

Coronavirus does not show much sign of “abating” in Scotland, the Deputy First Minister has said, as he refused to rule out tougher restrictions.

Scotland is facing “a very alarming situation” with the virus, according to John Swinney, whose comments come as the country has recorded its highest death toll so far in the pandemic in the past two days, where 93 Scots died from the virus.

Professional sport, along with manufacturing and construction work have been allowed to continue in this lockdown, whereas they were not in the first wave in March.

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Two people sit on a bus in Edinburgh where stricter lockdown measures for mainland Scotland are now in force. Picture: Andrew Milligan/PA Wire

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The Deputy First Minister said the decisive meeting of the cabinet on Monday saw ministers wondering if they had gone far enough to stop the spread.

Mr Swinney told Politics Scotland: “I don’t think I’m revealing a state secret when I say that the debate within Cabinet was not whether we were going too far, but whether we were going far enough.”

To illustrate the rise, Mr Swinney said Scotland recorded around 130 cases per 100,000 people on Boxing Day, but the figure shot up to 300 just ten days later.

Despite the new measures put in place, Mr Swinney said: “It doesn’t show much sign of abating to any extent.

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“We’re seeing case numbers which are hovering around 2,000 per day … so we’ve got an accelerating situation on our hands and we have to constantly review whether more restrictions are required.”

He added: “We remain open to considering further restrictions if they are necessary.”

On Thursday, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said she could also not rule out stricter measures after the number of people in hospital in Scotland exceeded the April peak of the pandemic.

At the coronavirus briefing in Edinburgh, she said: “For this lockdown to really be as effective as we need it to be, we must radically reduce the number of interactions we are having, and that means reducing to a minimum when people are required to leave their homes.

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“If we need to require more non-essential activities to close in order to achieve this, we will have to do that. That is a matter of ongoing review by the Scottish Government right now.”

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