Coronavirus restrictions have eased across parts of Scotland, but some areas are being held under tougher measures for longer than previously indicated amid concern over rising case rates of Covid-19.
The partial relaxation of rules came into effect at midnight as cases have more than tripled over the last month across the country.
Glasgow, previously the only local authority area in the country that was still under level three coronavirus restrictions, has moved to level two – meaning household mixing is permitted again for the first time in the city since last September and pubs can serve alcohol indoors until 10.30pm.
Thirteen council areas across Scotland have been held in level two, as First Minister Nicola Sturgeon pressed pause on plans to ease Covid restrictions in much of the country.
The First Minister informed the Scottish Parliament on Tuesday that Dundee, Clackmannanshire, Stirling, East Ayrshire, North Ayrshire, South Ayrshire, North Lanarkshire, South Lanarkshire, Edinburgh, Midlothian, East Dunbartonshire, Renfrewshire and East Renfrewshire were all being kept in level two.
At the Scottish Government’s coronavirus briefing on Friday, Sturgeon said that a total of 992 positive cases have been reported in the past 24 hours.
It is the highest number of new Covid cases since February 17, with the R number now estimated to be above one.
Despite the rising cases, fifteen council areas moved to level one at midnight – those being Highland, Argyll and Bute, Moray, Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire, Angus, Perth and Kinross, Inverclyde, West Dunbartonshire, Falkirk, Fife, West Lothian, East Lothian, the Borders and Dumfries and Galloway.
Island areas currently that were in level one have moved into level zero of the Scottish Government’s coronavirus framework.
Orkney, Shetland, the Western Isles and all islands in Highland, except Skye, have moved to level zero, along with the Argyll and Bute islands of Coll, Colonsay, Erraid, Gometra, Iona, Islay, Jura, Mull, Oronsay, Tiree and Ulva.
It had been hoped that most of Scotland would be able to move to level one on Saturday and the First Minister’s announcement means businesses in some areas, such as soft play centres, will not be able to reopen as planned.
Sturgeon insisted the country was still at a “delicate and fragile point” in the battle with the virus.
The total number of cases reported on Friday represents 3.9% of all of the tests carried out, with the overall number of confirmed cases at 238,893.
Currently, 116 people are in hospital with Covid, whilst eight people are receiving intensive care.
Sturgeon said that two deaths were reported over the past 24 hours, meaning that the total number of deaths registered under the daily definition is 7676.
The summary of indicators behind the Scottish Government’s decision-making process is available to view here.