United Kingdom

Glasgow Covid panic: Region to remain in strict lockdown over Indian variant fears

Nicola Sturgeon discusses Scotland’s restrictions

Glasgow saw a rise in new infections which appeared to be linked to the spread of new variants. Parts of south Glasgow recorded “clusters” of new infections which raised the city’s virus rate to 74 per 100,000. In comparison, there are 25.5 per 100,000 for Scotland as a whole.

Moray also recorded several new cases of the virus and had an infection rate four times the Scotland-wide level and the number of hospital admission has been rising since mid-April. 

Now, Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has announced the two Scottish regions will remain in the highest level as restrictions across Scotland begin to ease.

Both areas will remain at Level 3 for a week, with a further decision made at the end of next week.

The situation in Glasgow, the First Minister said, is causing even more concern than Moray, with initial research suggesting the outbreak could be being driven by the Indian variant of the virus.

Glasgow to to remain in strict lockdown over Indian variant fears (Image: Getty)

Glasgow and Moray to remain under strict lockdown

Glasgow and Moray to remain under strict lockdown (Image: Getty)

Ms Sturgeon said: “I know how disappointing this will be, but pressing pause for a few days will hopefully avoid a situation in which we have to impose even more restrictive measures over the next few weeks.”

People are being advised not to travel in or out of the affected council areas, while Ms Sturgeon added she was optimistic that increased testing and vaccination would help to curb the increased spread of the virus.

Despite the rising cases in Glasgow and Moray, Ms Sturgeon has said Scotland’s battle against coronavirus “remains good”.

She added: “It is inevitable that as we continue to navigate our way through this pandemic, we will hit bumps in the road, however, if we exercise suitable caution as we’re seeking to do today, then even though that is difficult, we are much more likely to stay on the right track overall.”

READ MORE: Fears Boris to cancel holidays after Welsh leader urges no travel

Restrictions have begun to ease across Scotland

Restrictions have begun to ease across Scotland (Image: Getty)

Public health experts warned a spike in infections across Glasgow could be linked to the so-called B.1.617.2 variant.

This variant was first identified in India and has been labelled a “variant of concern” by Public Health England (PHE).

Dr Susan Hopkins, COVID-19 Strategic Response Director at PHE, said: “Cases of this variant are rising in the community and we are continuously monitoring its spread and severity to ensure we take rapid public health action.

“We need to act collectively and responsibly to ensure that variants do not impact on the progress we have all made to drive down levels of Covid-19 and the increased freedom that brings.

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Coronavirus cases across the UK

Coronavirus cases across the UK (Image: Express)

“That means you should pay attention to and act on the local health advice in your area.

“Testing and isolating when required not only limits spread, it helps us to better understand how the variant behaves in the community which is vital to taking effective and proportionate action moving forward.”

In the past 24 hours, Scotland has recorded two coronavirus deaths and 215 new positive test results.

A total of 228,908 have tested positive for the virus and the daily test positivity rate is 1.3 percent, up from 1.2 percent the previous day.

Scotland began to ease lockdown restrictions

Scotland began to ease lockdown restrictions (Image: Getty)

Of the 215 new cases, 110 were in the NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde health board area.

This was followed by 37 in NHS Lothian, 21 in NHS Lanarkshire, 16 in NHS Fife and 15 in NHS Grampian – which covers Moray.

Dr Deepti Gurdasani, a clinical epidemiologist and senior lecturer at Queen Mary University of London, said lifting restrictions across Scotland was premature.

Dr Gurdasani told BBC Good Morning Scotland: “The idea is certainly premature, in fact the government should be considering the opposite.

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon (Image: Getty)

“In Scotland as a whole we’ve actually seen the number of new cases double in the last week, and while the cases are so low it’s hard to see exponential rises.

“This is what early exponential rises look like and we’re seeing loss of control of the pandemic in many parts of Scotland, and the situation is likely much wider and other places will follow unless action is taken to actually prevent this and pre-empt this now.”

A Scottish Government spokesman said: “We’ve been clear since the beginning of the pandemic that we will continue to follow scientific advice.

“Our plans for careful unlocking take account of the improved situation, while also acknowledging the risks we still face.

“While we intend to take the next steps as a nation together where possible, we stand ready to deploy the revised levels at a more local level if necessary – if prevalence of the virus surges in some parts of Scotland but not others.”


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