Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire are at risk of being moved up to level three of the Scottish Government’s coronavirus lockdown tier.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon revealed there would be no changes to any of Scotland’s Covid-19 alert levels following a review, however the two north-east local authority areas were being monitored following a sharp rise in cases.
In a statement to the Scottish Parliament on Tuesday, Sturgeon said cases in the past week have risen by 68% in Aberdeen City and 42% in Aberdeenshire.
While case numbers in these areas are still below the national average, she said they were now higher than some areas under level-three restrictions.
She said the Scottish Government was awaiting further analysis and would set out any changes by next week, or earlier if required.
In Dumfries and Galloway, Sturgeon said infection numbers suggested it could perhaps “move to level one soon”. However, there is a concern “that it is bordered by areas with significant higher levels of infection”, hence the “strong public health advice” for it to remain in level two for now.
Currently, 11 council areas, including Glasgow, are at level four – the highest tier of restrictions. This status – which affects more than two million people – is due to continue until at least December 11.
Scotland moved into a five-tier system of localised restrictions at the beginning of November in an effort to curb the spread of the deadly virus in high-prevalence areas but allowing more freedom in places with fewer cases.
Sturgeon highlighted that in the seven days to Friday, November 13, there were an average of 1116 coronavirus cases recorded each day.
By Friday, November 27, that had fallen to an average of 863 new cases a day – a drop of more than a fifth.
The number of people in hospital and the number of patients requiring intensive care were also “coming down”.
Sturgeon said: “I can say with some confidence we are making progress, and good progress at this stage.”
Sturgeon also revealed that a further 34 people have died in Scotland after being diagnosed with coronavirus.
Total confirmed cases of the virus has risen to 95,811 – a jump of 754 in the past 24 hours.
The official death toll in Scotland now stands at 3759, however weekly figures on suspected Covid-19 deaths recorded by National Records of Scotland suggest the most up-to-date total is at least 5380.
According to management information reported by NHS boards across Scotland, 1021 people are in hospital with confirmed or suspected Covid-19. Out of those, 70 patients are in intensive care.
The First Minister warned that cases could rise again over the winter months.
She said: “As we go deeper into the winter period, there are a number of factors that may well push transmission up again.
“So we could see cases and resulting illness and death start to rise again.
“That means we have an interest in driving cases as low as we can now. That necessitates continued caution.”
Covid-19 protection levels by area
No local authority has been placed at level zero.
Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, Highland, Moray, Orkney Islands, Shetland Islands.
Aberdeen City, Aberdeenshire, Argyll and Bute, Dumfries and Galloway, East Lothian, Scottish Borders.
Angus, Clackmannanshire, Dundee City, Edinburgh, Falkirk, Fife, Inverclyde, Midlothian, North Ayrshire, Perth and Kinross.
East Ayrshire, East Dunbartonshire, East Renfrewshire, Glasgow City, North Lanarkshire, Renfrewshire, South Ayrshire, South Lanarkshire, Stirling, West Dunbartonshire, West Lothian.