No immediate changes are to be made to current lockdown levels across Scotland, the First Minister has announced.
Nicola Sturgeon said it was “likely” that next Tuesday’s review of coronavirus levels would be “more substantial”, with Level 4 restrictions in 11 council areas set to end on December 11.
That means that, for now, Highland, Moray, Orkney, Shetland and the Western Isles will remain in Level 1, the second lowest of restrictions in the five-tier system.
Aberdeen City, Aberdeenshire, Argyll and Bute, the Borders, Dumfries and Galloway and East Lothian will also stay in Level 2.
However, Ms Sturgeon said that Aberdeen City and Aberdeenshire were being closely monitored.
Cases in both areas, she said, have “increased quite sharply in the past week” – rising by 68% in Aberdeen City and 42% in Aberdeenshire.
While case numbers in these areas are still below the national average, she said they were now higher than some areas under Level 3 restrictions.
In Dumfries and Galloway, Ms Sturgeon said infection numbers suggested it could perhaps “move to Level 1 soon”.
But she said there was a concern “that it is bordered by areas with significant higher levels of infection”, hence the “strong public health advice” for it to remain in Level 2 just now.
The areas of Angus, Clackmannanshire, Dundee, Edinburgh, Falkirk, Fife, Inverclyde, Midlothian, North Ayrshire, and Perth and Kinross will all remain in Level 3, Ms Sturgeon confirmed.
She added: “Eleven local authority areas will remain in Level 4 for one further week. These are Glasgow City, East and West Dunbartonshire, Renfrewshire and East Renfrewshire, North and South Lanarkshire, East and South Ayrshire, Stirling and West Lothian.
“We will confirm next week the levels these areas will move into when Level 4 restrictions end on December 11.”
Ms Sturgeon said ministers “remain hopeful that even before Christmas, we will be able to start vaccinating people in Scotland against Covid”.
She said the Scottish Cabinet reviewed vaccination plans when it met on Tuesday morning, telling MSPs: “I can confirm that we are ready to begin that process as soon as we receive the first supplies of vaccine.
“And we hope that by the spring, a significant proportion of the people who are most vulnerable to Covid will have been vaccinated.”
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