People living in two Glasgow postcode districts have been sent letters urging them to get tested for Covid-19, whether they have symptoms of the disease or not.
People living in the G41 and G42 areas of the city’s south side, which includes Pollokshields, Strathbungo, Govanhill and Toryglen, will start receiving the letters from Friday.
They have been signed by Glasgow City Council leader Susan Aitken and Linda de Caestecker, the director of public health at NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde health board.
It comes amid growing concern over a rise in coronavirus cases in Glasgow, just days before the city is moved under level two restrictions.
Data released on Thursday showed cases in Glasgow are at 70.9 per 100,000 people.
Furthermore, transmission rates in some south side areas are soaring. New figures released by Public Health Scotland on Thursday showed Pollokshields West had 729.3 infections per 100,000 of the population from May 4-10.
Pollokshields East had a rate of 694.9 infections per 100,000 over the same period.
The letters being sent to G41 and G42 postcode residents read: “Cases of Covid-19 are on the rise again in your neighbourhood and we’re looking for your help in beating this virus, so that life can get back to normal more quickly.”
Aitken, who is also an SNP councillor for the Langside ward, said: “The rise in Covid cases on the south side should be a warning to all Glaswegians that we’re not out of the woods yet.
“For some time now, we have been on a really encouraging path and as restrictions ease, it may be tempting to stretch the current guidance. But it is vital that we remain patient and stick to the pace of change the public health advice requires of us.
“Asymptomatic testing is so important in containing this outbreak and even if you haven’t any symptoms I would urge all those living in the affected area, which includes myself, to get tested as soon as possible.
“We have testing sites across the city and other locations where testing kits are available for collection – they can also be ordered online. For the sake of our city and the well-being of its people, please stick to the rules, get tested and let’s continue on our path to recovery.”
The letters also outline the locations of mobile testing units, which have been set up at the overflow car park on Barrland Street, opposite the Tramway theatre, and at Glasgow Central Mosque.
Rapid lateral flow tests can be delivered to residents’ homes or collected from the test sites or the Sandyford clinic on Calder Street.
De Caestecker said a rise in household mixing appeared to be the main reason for the increase in cases.
She said: “I do understand the temptation to think if we can do it on Monday, why not just do it now, but to prevent further increases in case numbers, I would urge everybody to stick to the rules as they are now, not as they are likely to be in a few days’ time.
“In addition, we are seeing new variants that are more transmissible and that is another reason why we cannot be complacent at this critical time.
“The numbers can go up very quickly, and it is the responsibility of all of us to play our part and prevent further increases. At the moment, Glasgow is due to drop to Level 2 next week, and the more we can do to stop spread of the disease, the better.”
Earlier on Thursday, a senior health expert warned the rise in coronavirus cases in Glasgow is a “red flag that needs to be dealt with”.
Speaking on the BBC’s Good Morning Scotland programme, Linda Bauld, professor of public health at the University of Edinburgh, said that a “robust response” is needed to the rise in cases.
Asked if she would advise the Scottish Government against moving Glasgow to level two, she said: “I’m not privy to all the information that they are, it’s for them to make that decision.
“But we do need a robust response and I suppose we’ll hear from them in the next few days what that decision is.”
Professor Bauld continued: “We need to benefit from the progress that we’ve made and not put it at risk.
“And in the past, and this is just a historical point, we perhaps have not acted early enough to get on top of outbreaks.”
Most of mainland Scotland will move to level two of the Scottish Government’s five-tier Covid-alert system as scheduled from next Monday.
A decision will be made soon on whether Moray should remain in level three, following a surge in cases and an increase in hospital admissions across the local authority area.
Many of Scotland’s islands will move to level one due to vaccination coverage and low case numbers.