Announcement on greater lockdown restrictions ‘very shortly’

Health Secretary Jeane Freeman says increased measures may be needed to 'avoid another full-scale lockdown'.

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Health Secretary says announcement on new restrictions will be made 'very shortly'.

A decision on greater lockdown restrictions being imposed in Scotland will be made in the early part of this week, the Health Secretary has said.

Jeane Freeman, speaking on BBC Breakfast on Sunday, said the Scottish Government will have an announcement “very shortly” on any more restrictions.

It comes after there was a rise of 350 positive Covid-19 cases in Scotland on Saturday – the highest daily increase in four months.

The rate of transmission in Scotland – or R-number – is now believed to be between 1.1 and 1.4.

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First Minister Nicola Sturgeon warned on Friday that greater measures may have to be put in place “if we want to avoid another full-scale lockdown”.

Ms Freeman said on Sunday: “We’re not seeing community transmission at this point, but (we) are seeing large clusters and outbreaks of cases in some parts of Scotland.

“So we’re working this weekend with scientific and clinical advisers to understand what might be the additional measures that we can put in place.”

She added that Ms Sturgeon had hoped to have a Cobra meeting with the four nations this weekend to discuss measures “to see if we could reach a shared view”, but that the Prime Minister was still considering the request.

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When asked when the decision on lockdown measures may be made, Ms Freeman replied: “We certainly will have an announcement very shortly. Not necessarily today, but definitely by the early part of next week.”

Ms Freeman also said she did not believe Scotland would move to the large fine route that England had taken.

Boris Johnson announced that people who break isolation rules in England could face fines of up to £10,000.

In Scotland, police have the ability to issue fixed penalty notices of £30, rising to £60, for those who break restrictions.

Ms Freeman said: “We do not win people to comply with these kind of measures for the duration we need them to without offering significant support and understanding, what it is we’re asking people to do.

“Isolating for 14 days is a serious request in terms of people’s financial situation.

“We also need to understand very many people are in low-paid jobs, with fragile contracts, sometimes in really difficult circumstances, so we need to win people to this fight with us.

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“Simply imposing fines if they don’t won’t be sufficient.

“Those are big numbers, which for many people will be completely beyond their capabilities.”

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