No reason for panic or restrictions despite Covid rise, says Leitch

The national clinical director said Scotland should not 'suddenly go back to restrictions or protections' as cases begin to creep up.

Jason Leitch: No reason for panic or restrictions despite Covid rise in Scotland iStock

Scotland’s national clinical director has said he is “not panicking” about rise Covid case numbers across the country.

Professor Jason Leitch said Scotland should not “suddenly go back to restrictions or protections” as cases began to creep up in the latter part of last week.

Positive test figures increased from 7497 on Tuesday to 9551 on Friday.

The number of people in hospital has also risen steadily in the past month, from 868 on February 12 to 1267 on Friday.

Speaking on BBC Radio Scotland’s Good Morning Scotland programme Leitch said there was no reason to “panic” over the figures.

“I’m not panicking – I’m not thinking we should suddenly go back to restrictions or protections, but I am concerned.

 Professor Jason Leitch said Scotland should not 'suddenly go back to restrictions'.STV News

“As we mix more, the virus gets more opportunities, so we’ve got 10,000 cases a day, we’ve had a little bit of an increase in those in hospital – it’s not huge, so people shouldn’t panic, but this disease is not over and it’s not done with us.”

He stressed the importance of vaccine uptake to allow for the continued suppression of the virus.

“You should still be cautious, particularly around those who are vulnerable,” he said.

“So get your vaccine, particularly if you’re getting a letter now if you’re in one of these elderly groups, or vulnerable groups.

“Test – because that testing is still available – and follow the guidance.”

His comments come as NHS Highland has started seeing a rise in case numbers.

The health board saw 53 inpatients with a number of outbreaks in hospitals and care homes.

Dr Tim Allison, director of public health for NHS Highland, said: “Though it may seem as though the world is moving back to ‘normal’, Covid is still a very real risk.

“It may be tempting to wear your mask less, skip hand washing, or to go out and socialise more – especially when many of you delayed or cancelled Christmas parties with friends, family and colleagues but I am asking you to think carefully about the impact of reducing those precautions which have helped keep so many of us safe.

“Covid is a risk to people’s health, not only directly, but also through the indirect pressure it puts on other services. Reducing transmission is still absolutely vital to allow us to care for people across all NHS Highland services.

“I would like to thank all colleagues across health and social care who are going above and beyond to keep services running.