LiveNicola Sturgeon news briefing RECAP: Number of cases in Scotland 'more than trebling every three weeks'

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Coronavirus in Scotland LIVE: The latest updates on Friday

Last updated: Friday, 11 September, 2020, 13:43

  • More than half a million download Protect Scotland app
  • School exams in Scotland to be held again next year
  • Maximum size of gatherings in Scotland cut to six

Another poll finds majority support for Scottish independence

Support for Scottish independence has sustained a majority despite a rise in coronavirus cases, according to a new survey.

The poll by Survation shows 53% in favour of breaking with the union, with 47% against.

It is the latest in a series of surveys since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic showing a majority of Scots in favour of independence – including one by Panelbase which held support at 55% last month.

Pro-independence group Yes tweeted: “Surge in support for @YesScot continues to grow, as more and more people move from No to Yes.

“It’s the 7th majority poll in a row since June.”

Coronavirus cases in Lanarkshire are causing “particular concern” and tighter lockdown restrictions may have to be imposed, Nicola Sturgeon said.

The First Minister said provisional statistics indicate the area had the second-highest number of new cases recorded overnight, up by 39, as the figure across the country rose by 175 in the same period to 22,214.

She told the Scottish Government’s coronavirus briefing: “The situation in Lanarkshire is causing some particular concern today.

“There will be expert public health discussions over the course of today and depending on the judgments and conclusions that they arrive at, it may be that some additional restrictions may have to be applied there.

“We will, however, keep people updated.”

Nicola Sturgeon: “If we didn’t have test and protect right now, we would probably be back in lockdown”

Nicola Sturgeon said: “The changes that were announced yesterday I know are really unwelcome.

“I didn’t want to announce them and I am sure none of you wanted to hear them but in our judgment imposing more restrictions now on how people meet up is necessary to avoid a stricter lockdown later.”

The First Minister, speaking at her coronavirus briefing, continued: “Over the past month-and-a-half the average number of cases recorded in Scotland has been more than trebling every three weeks.

“That is not sustainable if we are to keep schools and businesses safely open.

“So we have to act now in order to try to stem that increase and avoid more restrictive measures becoming necessary later.”

Nicola Sturgeon accepted the rules “sometimes seem to be inconsistent”, saying she had been messaged by a younger relative asking “pretty forcefully why she could be with her friends at school all day to today but can’t be with her friends after school”.

Ms Sturgeon said: “The basic answer is this, we’re having to restrict interactions in the population generally to try to keep the virus at a low enough level to keep schools open, because we know being at school is so important for young people.

“So what can sometimes appear to be inconsistencies are actually just the essential trade-offs we need to make to avoid going back into lockdown more completely and to avoid if it all possible having to close schools again.”

Other changes being brought in mean customers in indoor hospitality – such as bars, restaurants and cafes – will be required to wear face coverings when not eating or drinking.

And it will be made mandatory – with some exceptions – for staff to wear face coverings too.

Nicola Sturgeon also spoke about the new limits on gatherings, which will mean people should meet in groups of no more than six, from a maximum of two households.

“I know that is a really tough restriction,” the First Minister said.

“I want to assure you the decision we made on this wasn’t taken lightly. At the moment we believe this is necessary to try to limit and restrict as much as we can the transmission of the virus between different households.”

The limit of six people applies regardless of whether are people are meeting indoors – in houses, pubs or restaurants – or outside.

But she said that children under the age of 12 would not count towards the limit when two households meet.

The First Minister said while children from several households should not currently meet up, she had asked for “additional expert advice to see whether in some circumstances we could exempt children from the two household rule as well, so for example children’s birthday parties could go ahead, even on a limited basis as long as adults complied with the limits”.

She said she hoped this could be clarified in the next few days.

Nicola Sturgeon news briefing LIVE

More than 600,000 people have now downloaded the Protect Scotland mobile phone contact tracing app, Nicola Sturgeon said.

But she said for it to be “as effective as possible, to help us in the fight against Covid and also help us live a bit more normally, we need as many people across Scotland to download it and use it”.

The First Minister said the new app would enhance the existing contact tracing system.

Sh said that “one of the crucial things about it is it helps to reduce the time it takes to notify contacts”, saying it could give “almost immediate notification” to people if someone they had been in contact with had tested positive for Covid-19.

Ms Sturgeon said the numbers signing up to use the app had been “excellent” and “probably beyond our initial expectations”.

But she added: “We’ve got to keep that going, we’ve got to keep the numbers growing, because the more of us who download and use it, the more effective this app will be.”

Nicola Sturgeon said new Protect Scotland app will be "particularly useful" for tracing people who have used public transport and "very valuable" to students returning to university and college.

Nicola Sturgeon raised the prospect of “some additional restrictions” in the NHS Lanarkshire area as result of spike in cases

Nicola Sturgeon says average number of cases in Scotland has been trebling every three weeks

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