Sturgeon could ‘put the brakes’ on easing lockdown in Scotland

The Scottish Government may need to “put the brakes” on easing lockdown after a rise in Covid-19 cases, Nicola Sturgeon has said.

Addressing a recent rise in the number of positive coronavirus cases, the First Minister said it is “dangerous” to think “we no longer need to worry” and the current restrictions are an “overreaction”.

While she stressed she does want to “scaremonger”, she said there is a “definite trend” that has to be taken seriously.

A mobile testing unit
The proportion of people testing positive for coronavirus in Scotland has risen (Andrew Milligan/PA)

Over the last week, an average of 152 cases have been reported each day, she said, up from 14 per day six weeks ago.

The proportion of people testing positive for the virus has also risen from under 1% two weeks ago to 2.4% now.

A total of 146 people have tested positive for coronavirus in Scotland in the last 24 hours.

This followed 208 positive cases on Sunday and brings the total to 21,543 cases.

The death toll remains at 2,496 people.

On Thursday, Ms Sturgeon will announce the results of the review of lockdown measures in Scotland.

She said the country can only move from phase three to phase four of lockdown if the virus is no longer considered a significant threat.

“From all of the latest statistics it is clear that will not be the case,” she said.

Though she said no final decision has been made, she added it “may be that we have to put the brakes on some further changes, too”.

The First Minister said “we risk in the weeks ahead going back to a mounting toll of illness and death” if action to combat coronavirus is to stop.

She said young people are currently making up a higher proportion of positive cases.

“If transmission takes hold again, even if it starts in the younger, healthier, part of the population, which it appears to be doing, because younger people are interacting more, it won’t necessarily stay in that part of the population,” she said.

“It will eventually seep into older and more vulnerable groups. To be blunt, some young people will go on to infect their older friends or relatives.

“And it is at that point we could see again more deaths and serious illnesses happen.”

Ms Sturgeon said there is a “warning” in the rise in Covid-19 hospital admissions.

In the last three weeks, half of all hospital admissions have been in the Greater Glasgow and Clyde Health Board area, she added.

Speaking about the introduction of the planned new Protect Scotland app later this week, Ms Sturgeon stressed: “Let me be clear, it doesn’t track your location, your data is not passed on, your data remains anonymous, private and confidential.

“But if you test positive, if you download and use the app, it will help identify people you have been in close contact with  who are not known to you, for example someone you might have sat close to on a bus or train.

“So it will help us further contain spread.”

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