Sturgeon says Covid restrictions will be REINTRODUCED if cases rise

Nicola Sturgeon says coronavirus restrictions will have to be REINTRODUCED if cases continue to rise in Scotland after return of schools

  • Sturgeon yesterday raised the prospect of reintroducing some curbs
  • She also said that existing regulations, including mandatory face masks and limits on capacities at major events, are likely to be extended again  
  •  Scotland already has more Covid restrictions than other parts of the UK but cases appear to be rising faster
  • The number of confirmed cases has more than doubled in the past week and hit a record high of 4,323 yesterday 

Scots could be dragged back into tougher coronavirus restrictions amid the biggest surge in cases since the beginning of the pandemic.

Nicola Sturgeon yesterday raised the prospect of reintroducing some curbs despite the successful vaccine rollout.

She also said that existing regulations, including mandatory face masks and limits on capacities at major events, are likely to be extended again next week.

The First Minister told businesses to allow staff to work from home if they can in an effort to get a grip on the latest surge in cases.

But business leaders urged the First Minister not to take the country back to ‘economic hibernation’, while opponents urged her to stop trying to cling on to control over people’s lives and focus on economic recovery.

Scotland already has more Covid restrictions than other parts of the UK but cases appear to be rising faster. The number of confirmed cases has more than doubled in the past week and hit a record high of 4,323 yesterday – although half of all new cases are people under the age of 25 who are least likely to have been fully vaccinated.

Nicola Sturgeon yesterday raised the prospect of reintroducing some curbs despite the successful vaccine rollout. 

Miss Sturgeon said: ‘Even with vaccination, we can’t be totally relaxed about this surge in cases. The link between new cases and serious health harms has weakened significantly but it has not been completely broken.

‘That means the rise in cases in the last week may well result in more people having to go to hospital in the coming days, perhaps requiring intensive care treatment, and unfortunately, a rise in cases like this will still lead, I consider likely to be the case, to an increase in numbers of people dying.

‘If the surge continues or accelerates and if we start to see evidence of a substantial increase in serious illness as a result, we cannot completely rule out having to reimpose some restrictions.

‘Of course, we hope not to have to do that – and if we did, they would be as limited and as proportionate as possible.’

Talks will take place with business leaders in coming days and Miss Sturgeon issued a renewed appeal for them to ‘continue to support home working for now where possible’.

Miss Sturgeon said: ‘I fervently hope we don’t have to go backwards and impose restrictions but if we feel that is necessary to protect the country, of course I won’t shy away from those decisions. But I don’t want to have to do that.’

She refused to say which restrictions could return, or if there could be a move back to the lockdown levels system.

Tracy Black of CBI Scotland said: ‘Scotland’s economic recovery now depends on learning to live with the virus. That doesn’t mean throwing caution to the wind, but neither does it mean returning to social and economic hibernation.’

Scotland already has more Covid restrictions than other parts of the UK but cases appear to be rising faster. The number of confirmed cases has more than doubled in the past week and hit a record high of 4,323 yesterday – although half of all new cases are people under the age of 25 who are least likely to have been fully vaccinated. 

Dr Liz Cameron of the Scottish Chambers of Commerce said: ‘Any return to tighter restrictions will risk economic recovery. Our top priority should be allowing the economy to fully reopen.’

Scottish Tory leader Douglas Ross said: ‘Nicola Sturgeon’s lingering threat to impose more constraints on people’s lives is unjustifiable, given the success of Scotland and the UK’s vaccine scheme.

‘The public want to move on but Nicola Sturgeon is unable or unwilling to give up the control she has had… she seems determined to prolong restrictions, no matter the cost to jobs, our NHS or people’s mental health.

‘This is a different phase of the pandemic – NHS remobilisation and rebuilding Scotland’s economy should be our top priorities.’

An NHS recovery plan is also due to be published today. Chief Medical Officer Dr Gregor Smith warned that this is a ‘fragile moment’ in the battle against the virus. 

Source: Read Full Article