Fife in Tier 3: ‘Clear evidence’ virus circulating in communities across region
The move will impact everyone living and working in the Kingdom from 6:00 am on Friday.
The Scottish Government’s decision to move Fife from up from Tier 2 was met with some criticism from business leaders and the hospitality trade which will again bear the brunt of the restrictions.
But in a detailed update on the eve of the tougher rules, the council and health board said it was the right call - and gave a detailed insight on “how this decision was reached, and the science and data behind it.”
A joint statement said Fife had experienced a steady increase in the number of COVID cases.
It cited “a particularly sharp rise in the numbers of cases with a 40% increase in the number of cases per 100,000 across the course of just seven days.”
It said a far greater proportion of those tested for COVID-19 are being shown to be positive, and that there was now clear evidence that the virus is circulating in communities across the whole of the Kingdom.
This has led to clusters of COVID-19 cases developing in schools, care homes, workplaces and even a hospital ward.
Carol Potter, NHS Fife chief executive, said: “There has been a steadily increasing prevalence of COVID-19 in Fife over recent months, and we are now seeing a sharp and sudden spike, both in the number of cases and the proportion of those testing positive.
“We do not underestimate the effect that change will have on local people – it will affect everyone living and working in Fife in some way or another.
“By acting now, we can begin to reverse the trend of rising cases and help to protect many of the most vulnerable in our communities.”She added: “ This can only be achieved by local people adhering to the new restrictions, and following the existing public health guidance.
“If local residents stick with the public health guidance then we will very likely start to see the numbers of cases recede and this will hopefully hasten the easing of the restrictions.
The council and health board said geography was also a crucial factor in the move to Tier 3.
Fife sits geographically between Lothian, Forth Valley and Dundee – all Tier 3 areas –meaning there is considerable travel between them for work and other reasons.
Steve Grimmond, chief executive at Fife Council, said: “The decision by the Scottish Government this week to move Fife into level three was not taken lightly.
“ Although this is tough, it’s the right thing to do,” he said. “The huge impact that the rising number of cases is having on our communities is devastating.
“Our schools and our care homes are increasingly affected, and the evidence shows that most of these cases are beginning in our communities”He added: ““We have to act now, and we have to act together.
“Level three restrictions will not be easy to live with but it’s vital that we stick with this if we are to have hope of easing restrictions before Christmas.”