Bosses of councils, NHS and police in Lanarkshire have written to the Scottish Government urging it to rule out the strictest coronavirus restrictions for the area.
The letter is a response to a leaked government email to Cosla on Monday revealing both North and South Lanarkshire are being considered for tier four measures under the new levels system beginning on Monday.
It was signed by chief executives of North and South Lanarkshire councils, Des Murray and Cleland Sneddon, chief executive of NHS Lanarkshire, Heather Knox, and area’s police commander, superintendent Alan Waddell.
Level four is the closest to a full lockdown, similar to the one introduced at the end of March, and would mean non-essential shops, pubs and restaurants have to close.
The letter argues the area’s figures are improving and warned of “significant additional harms and consequences” if placed under stricter restrictions.
It goes on to urge the Scottish Government to consider placing both North and South Lanarkshire in level three.
The letter says: “We have been following the numbers intensely and the Scottish Government figures for Lanarkshire have declined.
“There is emerging clear evidence in Lanarkshire that the very steep rise has been halted and that there is an indication that cases are falling to some extent.”
The letter then warns the Scottish Government that a move to level four has “considerable implications for Lanarkshire and beyond”.
It adds: “It has significant impacts on health and wellbeing, public services, and business and the economy.”
The Lanarkshire leaders say they support basing measures on virus transmission but “do not believe the most up-to-date statistics support a move to level four” for their area.
The letter states: “There is a decline in the key indicators for Lanarkshire when the most up-to-date data is considered.
“Against that backdrop, and the significant additional harms and consequences we have set out for level four when compared with the other levels, we would urge the Scottish Government to place Lanarkshire in level three of the restrictions and assume that its neighbouring authorities will be in a similar position.”
Level three of the tier system would mean alcohol sales both indoors and outdoors will not be permitted in the area, although some restaurants may be able to open under strict conditions.
Level four is the most similar to a full lockdown with non-essential shops being forced to close.
Socialising would not be allowed in people’s homes, but six people from two households could still meet outdoors and there would be no limit on outdoor exercise.
Non-essential travel would be banned and there could be limits on the distance people can travel, as well as guidance to stay at home.
For further details of Scotland’s new coronavirus levels system click here.