Nicola Sturgeon: First Minister set to announce whether Glasgow Covid-19 restrictions can be lifted as experts say coronavirus cases in the city are stabilising

Nicola Sturgeon is set to announce whether Glasgow’s coronavirus restrictions will be eased, with experts suggesting case numbers are stabilising in the city.

Glasgow is the only part of Scotland under Level 3 lockdown rules, prohibiting non-essential travel out of the area and imposing greater restrictions on socialising, hospitality and businesses.

The First Minister is due to announce whether there will be any changes to the measures in place for Glasgow at a coronavirus briefing on Friday afternoon, a week after she moved Moray – the only other area in a higher tier – down to Level 2.

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The daily Covid-19 statistics on Thursday revealed 170 new cases in the NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde area, slightly below the weekly average of 184.

‘Reasons to be optimistic’

According to the Public Health Scotland figures, that is 110.2 cases per 100,000 of the population over the past seven days – more than twice the figure of the next highest health board area – NHS Forth Valley which is on 52.2.

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Broken down by area, Glasgow city has had 924 cases in the last week at a rate of 145.9 per 100,000 of the population – second only to Clackmannanshire which has a rate of 151.3 but has only seen 78 new cases over the seven days.

Nicola Sturgeon is set to announce whether Glasgow’s coronavirus restrictions will be eased, with experts suggesting case numbers are stabilising in the city.

Following pleas from business owners for clarity about when they can fully reopen, Ms Sturgeon said on Thursday that there are “reasons to be optimistic” about the situation in the city.

She said she wants Glasgow back on track “as quickly as possible, but that’s got to be done responsibly and safely”.

Ms Sturgeon added: “I know how difficult it is for residents and businesses across Glasgow but I also know how dangerous it would be if we eased restrictions too quickly and allowed a new variant of this virus, that we know is spreading perhaps even more quickly than the variant at the start of the year, to take a grip again.”

‘Things look like they are stabilising’

On Friday morning, Linda Bauld, professor of public health at the University of Edinburgh, said: “Things do look like they are stabilising in Glasgow.”

Speaking on BBC Radio Scotland’s Good Morning Scotland programme, Prof Bauld said: “I think what makes it different from last year is that it does seem most of the infections are in younger adults – that was the case last year – but it’s not translating through yet to high numbers of people in hospital because fewer older people are becoming infected.”

Scottish Conservative coronavirus recovery spokesman Murdo Fraser said if the latest data shows infections are still high in Glasgow, a “more targeted” approach is needed.

Speaking on the same programme, he argued that areas with higher concentrations of coronavirus infections should be targeted with testing and vaccinations rather than the whole city being subject to “blanket” restrictions.

Mr Fraser said: “Our view is the current council-wide lockdown in Glasgow has not been the right approach.

“Large parts of Glasgow do not see large numbers of people infected with Covid and yet are affected by these lockdown restrictions.”

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