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A temporary travel ban between Scotland and Covid hotspots in England will come into force from Monday, Nicola Sturgeon has announced, as she confirmed that level 3 lockdown restrictions would continue in Glasgow for at least another week and warned that new cases had risen across the whole of Scotland by more than 25% over the past week.
Telling Scots that the situation with the coronavirus variant first identified in India was likely to change quickly, the Scottish first minister announced travel restrictions to Bedford, Bolton and Blackburn with Darwen, which are currently subject to enhanced health protection measures. The travel ban is not a legal restriction.
She said: “We know that there are particularly serious outbreaks in three specific English local authority areas – Bedford, Bolton and Blackford and Darwen.”
“So for that reason, for Monday onwards, we are putting hopefully temporary travel restrictions on travel between Scotland and those three local authority areas in England. So if you were planning to visit friends or relatives or to stay in those areas you must delay your visit.”
At the lunchtime briefing, Sturgeon also said that despite enhanced testing, contact tracing and accelerated vaccinations in the postcodes affected on the southside of Glasgow, “we don’t think we have turned the corner”.
Sturgeon said she knew “how unwelcome this is for individuals and businesses” in Glasgow, a city that has been subject to the toughest restrictions in Scotland since last September, but added that it was “not unreasonable” to surmise that these restrictions would continue for longer than another week.
Sturgeon also confirmed that Moray, the location of a previous hotspot, would be moving down to level 2 of the Scottish government’s five-tier system of Covid controls, the level at which the majority of mainland Scotland now sits.
There had been some speculation that East Renfrewshire, a local authority adjacent to Glasgow city, would return to level 3 because of a steep rise in the case rate there. But Sturgeon said this would not be necessary because, although the raw data showed higher rates than Glasgow, the total number of cases was considerably smaller – just 17 new cases, compared with 166 in Glasgow yesterday. She added that the East Renfrewshire cases related to specific household clusters, compared with more widespread community transmission in Glasgow.
Sturgeon was also asked about revelations on Friday that a Scottish government agency unlawfully kept the breakdown of deaths in care homes secret for almost eight months. The ruling from Scotland’s information commissioner was the result of a collaborative project between the Scotsman, the Herald, DC Thomson and STV.
She said the decision by National Records of Scotland – which she emphasised operates independently of ministers – not to break down the deaths by care home did not mask the scale of deaths. “I want to be very clear that is not the case. The total number of people who sadly lost their lives to Covid who were residents in care homes has been reported.”
The Scottish Labour leader, Anas Sarwar, earlier described the revelations as “utterly shameful” and called for a Scottish public inquiry “without delay”.
Source: The Guardian
Keyword: Scotland to ban travel to English Covid hotspots from Monday | Coronavirus