Nicola Sturgeon says there’s a ‘choice between two futures’
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Scotland’s First Minister is poised to announce stricter lockdown measures for areas affected by the Indian coronavirus variant. Such a move would see the worst affected areas, such as Glasgow, unable to move into the next level of lockdown easing, which permits up to eight people (or three households) to meet indoors. The change to Scotland’s roadmap will mount pressure on the UK Prime Minister to delay the next easing of lockdown measures, which is due to occur on June 21.
The First Minister is due to give an update on Covid restrictions in the Scottish Parliament this afternoon, shortly after 2pm.
Scotland was due to move into Level 1 restrictions from June 7, which would allow up to eight people from three households to meet indoors in pubs, cafes and bars.
Up to 12 people from 12 different households would also be permitted to socialise outside in gardens or outdoor public places.
But Ms Sturgeon looks set to delay this step of lockdown easing, due to the spread of the Indian variant.
The announcement may only affect those areas that have a surge in the Indian variant.
A recent spike in infections saw Ms Sturgeon keep the entire Glasgow City Council area under Level 3 restrictions, which bans pubs and restaurants from serving alcohol indoors.
The rules also ban people from meeting in each other’s homes.
The First Minister has warned the city may have to stay in Level 2 restrictions for “a couple of weeks” before it is able to move to Level 1.
She said if a decision was made to move Glasgow into Level 2 lockdown the relaxed restrictions would come into force on Saturday.
Ms Sturgeon said: “If the massive public health efforts continue to have an impact; if our collective efforts to drive the virus back continue; then from next Saturday – Friday into Saturday – 5 June – the plan would be for the city to move to Level 2.”
Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross has urged the First Minister to continue with the planned lockdown restrictions and warned leaving one city in lockdown could be harmful.
He said: “The success of Scotland and the UK’s vaccine scheme means we can now be far more positive about easing restrictions.
“Everyone understands that there will be a need for local, targeted measures when an outbreak occurs.
“But leaving behind whole areas should be ruled out. Sweeping measures that unnecessarily hurt a whole city or council area are unfair on businesses and local people waiting to get on with their lives.”
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