East Lothian Provost says understanding Covid guidance is like trying to 'tackle Ikea wardrobe instructions'

Understanding Covid restrictions was compared to trying to “tackle Ikea wardrobe instructions” during a meeting of East Lothian Council.

Covid warning: Councillor Norman Hampshire

Provost John McMillan made the comparison during a virtual meeting to voice concerns about the tier the county was about to be put in.

The committee also heard that an outbreak at Queen Margaret University, Musselburgh, which saw students self isolate, had been contained with the number of positive cases of Covid between 10 to 12 people.

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And they were told that East Lothian Community Hospital, which opened one of two mothballed wards during lockdown to support Covid cases in NHS Lothian with additional 24 beds was preparing to have the second ward open by December providing a further 20 beds.

Provost MacMillan compared Covid guidelines to Ikea wardrobe instructions

Councillors were told the rate of Covid cases in East Lothian currently stood at 73.8 per 100,000 population.

Concerns were raised that despite the rate being far below Edinburgh and neighbouring Midlothian and West Lothian, the county had been ordered into the 16-day central belt wide circuit breaker introduced earlier this month.

The Scottish government is due to announce a new five tier system of restrictions tomorrow and where each local authority area will be placed with fears East Lothian will be put in Tier Three – which will leave hospitality unable to open and serve alcohol -despite other areas with higher levels of the virus being in lower tiers.

Councillor McMillan said: “Interpreting some of the guidance has been likened to tackling Ikea wardrobe instructions.”

And Councillor Norman Hampshire told the meeting: “We will still be dealing with Covid in a year’s time so balancing that situation and what businesses are looking at in another lockdown, we need to manage our businesses properly or we will lose them, they will be gone.

“I’ve raised concerns that the level in East Lothian is much lower than other areas. The difference between tier two and tier three has a significant impact on businesses in East Lothian.

“We need to make sure we make the right decision to keep people safe and protect our businesses.”

Marie Sharp , Local Democracy Reporting Service

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