LiveNicola Sturgeon LIVE: First Minister says no decision yet on Christmas Covid-19 rules

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Coronavirus in Scotland.

Coronavirus in Scotland LIVE: Monday, November 23, 2020

Last updated: Monday, 23 November, 2020, 13:14

Key Events

  • Scottish Government still in discussions over Christmas lockdown
  • Thousands of 'desperate' patients turn to A&E with dental problems
  • Oxford University vaccine shows 70% protection
  • 949 new infections recorded in last 24 hours
  • No new deaths from coronavirus
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Edinburgh will remain at level three over fears Capital infection rate is rising

Nicola Sturgeon: ‘Christmas bubbles’ likely

Ms Sturgeon said it was “likely” that extended household bubbles will be allowed over Christmas.

The First Minister said decisions to ease restrictions over the festive period are a “particularly difficult balance to strike” and have split public opinion.

She revealed that discussions between the UK Government and devolved nations had made “progress towards a common position across the UK”.

Ms Sturgeon said: “Reducing the prevalence of the virus is also what will allow us to consider a slight and careful – and I want to stress today those words ‘slight’ and ‘careful’ – easing of the rules for a few days over the festive period.”

Speaking at the Scottish Government’s coronavirus briefing, Ms Sturgeon added: “There is an obvious desire to see loved ones at Christmas, I think we all feel that very strongly.

“There’s also a lot of anxiety about the potential risks associated with that, particularly at a time when we’re starting to see, perhaps, the end of this pandemic loom on the horizon.

“So we’re trying as hard as we can to reach a sensible balance, although it is possible – likely, in fact – that some households may be able to form slightly larger bubbles with each other for a short period over Christmas.

“We’re considering this because we recognise that isolation and loneliness can hit people particularly hard over the Christmas period.”

Full story on the latest Covid-19 figures

‘Slight and careful’ approach to Christmas

A warning from the First Minister:

We can't ignore that any relaxation of restrictions carries additional risk. I'm afraid the virus won't take Christmas off.

Nicola Sturgeon

Sturgeon: Devolved governments ‘making progress’ on Christmas rules

The First Minister said she had held discussions with the leaders of the UK Government, the Welsh Government, and the Northern Irish executive on Saturday, adding that progress was being made toward a “common position” on travel and lockdown rules over the Christmas period. 

But Ms Sturgeon warned that the “details of the approach” were still to be finalised. 

Midlothian could move to Level 2 tomorrow

The First Minister said that, like East Lothian, Midlothian could move to Level 2 from tomorrow. 

Ms Sturgeon said there was cause for concerns over an increase in cases and test positivity in the region, meaning the final decision would be taken tomorrow morning, ahead of her address to the Scottish Parliament. 

“So it may be that Midlothian will remain at Level 3 for a bit longer, until the situation stabilises,” she explained.

“While, if that is the decision. I know that will be disappointing, it is better than moving the area down a level only to possibly to have to move it back up again in a week’s time.

“What we are seeking to do with the level system is get as much stability as possible for people and for businesses.”

East Lothian to move to Level 2

Ms Sturgeon confirmed that East Lothian would move from Level 3 to Level 2 of the regional lockdown system, after there was “no deterioration” in the infection rate in the area. 

Sturgeon: No local authorities to move up a level tomorrow

The First Minister said she expected the “vast majority” of council areas to remain in their current levels when she makes her statement to the Scottish Parliament on the Scottish Government’s review of the regional lockdown system tomorrow. 

Nicola Sturgeon: No change to care home discharge policy

Nicola Sturgeon has insisted the policy of testing hospital patients before being discharged into care homes has not changed.

The First Minister said anyone in hospital who was known to be infected or are moved without being tested would be in “exceptional circumstances” and based on the “clinical interest of a patient”.

Speaking at the Scottish Government’s coronavirus briefing, Ms Sturgeon said: “The policy is that anyone who has had Covid-19 should have two negative tests before being discharged from a hospital to a care home.

“Anyone who has been in hospital for reasons other than Covid-19 should still have one negative test recorded before they are discharged to a care home.

“That is the policy and that is very clear, and it has not changed since we introduced that earlier in the pandemic.”

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