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Mandatory Covid-19 restrictions unlikely to return despite rising cases – Leitch

Mandatory restrictions are unlikely to return, Jason Leitch said (Brian Lawless/PA)
Mandatory restrictions are unlikely to return, Jason Leitch said (Brian Lawless/PA)

Mandatory coronavirus restrictions are unlikely to return in Scotland despite a significant rise in cases, Jason Leitch has said.

The latest data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) shows that in the week ending June 17, an estimated 250,700 people in private households in Scotland had Covid-19 – amounting to around one in 20.

It is an increase from 176,900 – around one in 30 people – the previous week, the highest level in the UK.

People testing positive for Covid-19 in private households in the UK
(PA Graphics)

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has said it would be “sensible” for people to wear face coverings indoors, however there is no legal requirement to do so.

Speaking on BBC’s Sunday Show, Professor Leitch, Scotland’s national clinical director, said he “honestly” does not think mandatory restrictions will be reintroduced.

He said: “Something dramatic would have to happen to the virus.

“We’ve got fatigue from this. We’re all a bit fed up. People are going back about their business.

2020 Fletcher of Saltoun Award
National clinical director Jason Leitch (Saltire Society/PA)

“Glastonbury is on, TRNSMT is on next week. I remember us talking about TRNSMT a year ago where we were struggling to get it back on.

“All of those things are really, really important to get back.”

But he warned the public there would be “small prices to pay” in order to ensure “normality” continues.

“Science, vaccination, staying off your work, face coverings are small prices to pay in order to get society back,” he added.

Prof Leitch has just recovered from Covid-19 himself after he shared a positive lateral flow test on social media last week.

The exact number of people with the virus in Scotland is unknown since regular testing of the public ended in April.

And while we should be “concerned” about the rise in cases, Prof Leitch said the spike is “entirely predictable”.

“Let’s not underreact,” he said. “But let’s not overreact either because vaccines, antivirals, we know what to do.

“We’re able to live this in a different way that we could have before.”