Nicola Sturgeon explains reasons behind new Glasgow, East Renfrewshire and West Dunbartonshire restrictions

The restrictions on visiting other households across Glasgow and swaths of the west of Scotland represent the most extreme - and pained - decision taken by the Scottish Government since the nation entered phase three of the route map out of the Covid-19 pandemic, but it demonstrates that the public health crisis is far from over.

Nicola Sturgeon said she "hated" having to impose the new restrictions.
Nicola Sturgeon said she "hated" having to impose the new restrictions.

The measures impact on more than 800,000 people across Scotland’s biggest city, as well as its neighbouring local authorities in East Renfrewshire and West Dunbartonshire. As of midnight, they were unable to host people from other households in their own homes, or visit another person's home.

The measures, scheduled to remain in place for a fortnight, with a review set for next week, have been questioned by some. Critics point out that, despite the move, members of different households remain free to get together at a cafe, pub, or restaurant.

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But in a Twitter thread spelling out the “reasons and rationale” for the steps, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has reiterated that the emerging data indicated that the spike in transmission of the virus was driven by a “spread in and between households.”

That, she pointed out, does not mean that no positive cases are emerging from the likes of pubs, but unlike the recent outbreak in Aberdeen, such places do not appear to be the main driver of the spike in cases in the west of Scotland.

Along with the fact that pubs have prescribed safety and tracing protocols, Ms Sturgeon said the decision to prevent Scots across the three council areas from visiting other households had been driven by analysis.

Ms Sturgeon explained: “Based on data, clinical advice is that restricting household gatherings indoors - where it is most difficult to keep physical distance - is vital. Closing pubs wouldn’t be an alternative to that - but an additional measure which, for now, they don’t consider proportionate.

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“Coupled with the extended advice on isolation for anyone with potential exposure to the virus, we hope these targeted measures will be sufficient to prevent further spread - if people comply with them. However, we will need to keep [the] situation under review.”

Ms Sturgeon admitted that there were “no good options” available to the Scottish Government, but stressed its objective was to “stem spread with the least impact on lives and the economy.”

She once again appealed to the public to abide by the Covid-19 rules, stating that although she sounded “like a broken record,” the government alone cannot stop the spread of the virus.

“Unless we all stick rigidly to facts and abide by the rules, this highly infectious virus will spread,” she added. “That is a fact. Difficult though I know it is, stopping it is down to all of us.”

She said that not only did she “hate” having to take such a decision, but understood that people “hate the impact of them.”

She went on: “My plea is that we treat yesterday’s developments as a wake up call and take seriously our individual responsibilities to stop Covid spreading.”

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