Local lockdowns: areas in Scotland at risk of further lockdown rules as restrictions are extended in Leicester
On Tuesday, 23 June, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon confirmed the dates for lifting restrictions during phases two and three of the route map out of lockdown.
More recently on 3 July the five mile travel limit was also lifted in certain areas across Scotland.
However scientists and public health directors have since warned that parts of Scotland could be forced to extend their lockdowns, following in the footsteps of Leicester, which has been forced to extend its lockdown until 18 July at the earliest due to a sharp rise in new Covid-19 cases.
President of the Association of Directors of Public Health, Jeanelle de Gruchy, told The Guardian, “We need to be cautious on easing lockdown because we are not out of the woods yet,”
“Leicester is a sobering example of that. It should make us cautious about being too gung-ho in easing different measures.”
Which areas of Scotland have seen an increase in infection rates?
Lanarkshire and Dumfries and Galloway are just some of the areas which have seen a significant increase in infections and a rising infection rate week after week, according to tests by the NHS and Public Health Scotland laboratories.
Between 18 and 25 June, these areas saw a weekly increase of over 10 infections.
According to data from Public Health Scotland, the areas which have seen a sharp week-on-week increase in infections, between 19 June and 26 June, are as follows:
NHS Grampian, which provides health and social care services to over 500,000 people living in Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire and Moray saw a 175 percent increase.
NHS Forth Valley, which serves the Clackmannanshire, Falkirk and Stirling area, saw an increase of 125 per cent.
NHS Dumfries and Galloway, which serves a population of over 148,000, recorded 10 new cases, up from zero infections the week prior.
(Note: Scottish historic data excludes 15 June)
In her parliamentary speech, Ms Sturgeon did acknowledge the potential dangers that come from easing lockdown restrictions and clarified that lockdown rules may be reintroduced if the spread of the virus increases.
“Our challenge – which is not an easy one - is to manage all of this change while keeping the virus firmly under control,” she said.
“If at any stage there appears to be a risk of its resurgence, our path out of lockdown will be halted and we may even have to go backwards.”
What would an extended lockdown look like?
While both England and Scotland have begun to see lockdown restrictions gradually ease, on the evening of Monday 29 June, Health secretary Matt Hancock announced the city of Leicester was to now face stricter lockdown restrictions due to a localised spike in coronavirus cases.
Leicester now faces a range of lockdown measures, including the closure of schools to the majority of students, as well as non-essential shops.
There is also a ban on non-essential travel.
Most of the restrictions are simply a reintroduction of the strictest measures seen at the start of lockdown, and this could be the future for other cities and regions which see a spike in the infection rate.
Where has the five mile travel rule been extended?
While many areas in Scotland are now allowed to travel further than 5 miles outside of their home from 3 July, some areas have entered into an extended lockdown of sorts, whereby they have not been granted this new freedom.
The five-mile travel limit will still apply in parts of Dumfries and Galloway, due to a local coronavirus outbreak.
This applies to all residents in Annan, Gretna, Dumfries, Lockerbie, Langholm and Canonbie. Dumfries and Galloway Council have listed the postcodes involved in the outbreak, naming the following: