There are signs that the number of new coronavirus cases in Glasgow is beginning to stabilise, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said on Tuesday.
She said there were reasons to be cautiously optimistic about the situation in the city, which remains under level three restrictions.
The First Minister also said the situation had stabilised in neighbouring East Renfrewshire, where case numbers have fallen slightly.
Speaking at a coronavirus briefing, Sturgeon said case numbers are rising across the country – with numbers doubling in the past 16 days – but remain quite low compared to the situation facing the country earlier this year.
Sturgeon said: “We’re seeing a rise in cases overall just now. If you look back over the past 16 days, case numbers – albeit from a very low level – have actually doubled and while some of this will be down to increased testing, the test positivity rate has also been creeping up as well.
“It appears the situation may have stabilised in East Renfrewshire and indeed case numbers there may in fact have fallen very slightly – that said it’s too early to be absolutely certain so it remains really important that residents continue to come forward for testing and vaccination and that everyone continues to exercise care.
“In Glasgow, the seven-day average of new cases has increased from Friday – from 112 new cases per 100,000 people to 137 – that said it’s important to recognise that the extensive public health efforts underway in Glasgow will take time to work through given the scale and complexity of the city, so it’s important we don’t lose heart.
“And in fact, just in the past two days or so we do think we may have started to see signs that case numbers in Glasgow are stabilising and test positivity has also remained fairly stable over the last few days at around 4%, so that would be another reason to be cautiously optimistic
Glasgow reported a seven-day case rate per 100,000 people of 136.8.
Clackmannanshire has seen a major spike in cases and now has the highest Covid rate in Scotland – recording 139.7 infections per 100,000 in the seven-day period up to May 21.
Glasgow and Moray were kept under level three coronavirus restrictions while the rest of mainland Scotland moved to level two on May 17.
Moray moved to level two from midnight last Friday, leaving Glasgow as the only local authority area in the country still under level three restrictions.
Sturgeon was speaking as Scotland recorded two coronavirus deaths and 318 new cases in the past 24 hours.
It means the death toll under this daily measure – of people who first tested positive for the virus within the previous 28 days – is 7666.
The First Minister said the daily test positivity rate was 2%, down from 2.8% the previous day.
She said 97 people are in hospital with recently confirmed Covid-19, up three on the previous day. Of these, six were in intensive care, up one.
More than five million vaccine doses have now been administered in Scotland, with 3,138,366 first doses and 1,881,214 second doses.
Sturgeon said while case numbers were rising they were still “quite low relative to the situation we experienced in the early part of this year” – saying this also applied to hospital and ICU admissions – with the number of hospital patients reaching more than 2000 in January as the second wave hit.
The First Minister said vaccination may allow the country to “change our response” to the virus.
She said: “Increasingly we are monitoring whether and to what extent vaccination might be breaking that link between rising case numbers and significantly rising cases of serious illness and death.
“And if that does prove to be the case, as we hope it will, we hope our response to this virus can evolve as well.”
Sturgeon said this “might mean we don’t have to react quite so aggressively with tough restrictions in the face of rising case numbers”.
The First Minister added this would be a “key factor” in decisions going forward, both in relation to Glasgow and the country as a whole.