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New variant of Covid-19 taking hold in north-east

Nicola Sturgeon announcing new Covid-19 measures
Nicola Sturgeon announced new lockdown measures for mainland Scotland.

New lockdown measures have been announced in Scotland as it emerged 16% of cases linked to the new fast-spreading variant of Covid-19 last week were in the north-east.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced tighter lockdown measures, similar to those put in place last March, would be in place from today across mainland Scotland.

The restrictions will make it a legal requirement to stay at home, except for essential reasons, to help stop the spread of coronavirus.

It comes after a spike in cases, as well as evidence of a new strain of the virus which is more transmissible.

The variant, known as B.1.1.7, is estimated to be the cause of 38% of all Covid-19 infections in Scotland, with studies carried out showing it is 50% more transmissible than the original virus.

The north-east has also seen a significant number of cases linked to the variant, 16% of all Scottish cases in the week from December 21 to 27 were detected in the region.

In the same week, NHS Grampian had 910 positive cases, out of 8,378 across the whole of Scotland – 10.8% of all cases.

During the third week in November, Grampian recorded 458 positive coronavirus cases, out of 6,328 reported across Scotland – 7% of all positive cases.

NHS Grampian has again encouraged residents to adhere to coronavirus guidelines, and ensure that they are practising hygiene measures to keep themselves and others safe.

NHS Grampian said 16 of the cases from December 21 to 27 in Scotland were linked to the new variant of coronavirus.

A statement from NHS Grampian said: “Nearly 16% of Scottish cases detected last week were in Grampian, more than might be expected from our 11% of the Scottish population, so this new variant virus is definitely here.

“The messages about prevention have not changed, but the degree of rigour with which these should be adhered to must increase if we are to protect friends, loved ones, and the wider population.

“As well as the usual advice about frequent hand hygiene, respiratory hygiene, keeping physically distant (remember two metres apart in shops) wearing a face covering and not going to work with symptoms, we must add avoiding long spells in poorly ventilated indoor spaces.

“The virus can spread through the air in tiny droplets that can persist in the air, getting to people further away than the two metres and landing on surfaces throughout a poorly ventilated room.”

Meanwhile, politicians have welcomed the decision to introduce tighter restrictions, which aims to protect public safety, encouraging people to stay at home.

 

Aberdeen City Council co-leader Councillor Douglas Lumsden.

Aberdeen City Council co-leader Councillor Douglas Lumsden added: “The picture at the moment is stark, and we fully accept we have to get a firm grip on the situation to try and control the virus.

“What has been lacking so far is more information about what the Government are planning to do for businesses. This is a further blow to many businesses and I really fear for them and the jobs they support.

“Although people are allowed to go out, it is still going to be tough for so many.

“These are difficult times and it needs everyone to stick to the rules. There is light at the end of the tunnel because the vaccine rollout has started, so hopefully we will not have to live with this for too much longer.”

https://www.eveningexpress.co.uk/fp/news/local/covid-19-what-has-changed-with-the-new-lockdown-restrictions/

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