Glasgow is set to miss out on an easing of lockdown rules elsewhere in Scotland after authorities found evidence that the variant linked to increased infections in India was leading to a resumption of local cases.
Most of Scotland has been given the green light to lower a level of restrictions to ‘level two’ from Monday, allowing cinemas, theaters and casinos to reopen and pubs and restaurants to serve alcohol in the inside.
However, in an unexpected move, Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said on Friday that the ‘level three’ rules currently in place across the country were to remain in place in Glasgow for at least an additional week. Residents will be asked not to travel outside of the area at this time, except for authorized purposes.
Speaking to the Scottish Parliament, Sturgeon cited “very significant” evidence suggesting that recent infections in the country’s largest city were caused by the strain prevalent in India. Cases in Glasgow have risen to 80 per 100,000, she said.
While there is no sign that the variant is causing more serious illness, the PM said it may be “much more communicable” than the variant that originated in Kent and that had led to a spate of more cases. early across the UK.
âThat alone calls for an appropriate degree of caution,â Sturgeon said. “We need a few more days to assess the data and make sure the situation can be brought under control.”
The move is another blow to Glasgow’s hospitality industry, where consumer spending underpins the local economy.
Scottish officials had planned a few days ago to include Glasgow in national easing, saying a recent surge in infections was limited to particular hot spots in the city’s east and south. They were more concerned with a cluster in Moray, a more rural area in the northeast.
After reviewing the most recent data, Sturgeon said she was unable to give Glasgow the go-ahead. Existing lockdown restrictions will also remain in place in Moray, as planned.
Glasgow was now causing “even more concern” than Moray, Sturgeon said.
“I know how disappointing it will be, but a break of a few days will hopefully avoid a situation in which we will have to impose even more restrictive measures.”
Hospitality and leisure businesses in affected areas would be entitled to Â£ 750 per week of additional support. The restrictions are due to be reviewed at the end of next week.