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Nicola Sturgeon announces areas in the north and north-east will move down a level

Covid Scotland level 1
Nicola Sturgeon updates Scots on covid restrictions

Nicola Sturgeon has confirmed that areas in the north and north-east will move to Level 1, while the islands will move to Level 0.

The Highlands, Argyll and Bute, Moray, Angus, Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire are among the areas that will be moving to Level 1 midnight on Friday, into Saturday.

Meanwhile, the Western Isles, Orkney and Shetland will be moving to Level 0 at the same time.

Dundee, Edinburgh, Midlothian, the three Ayrshires, Renfrewshire and Stirling will remain at Level 2 due to case numbers. The first minister stressed this is a “pause, not a step backwards”.

According to the first minister, Level 3 would not be “proportionate at this stage” for these areas, she believes it is safer and more likely to protect the overall progress to hold them in Level 2.

She announced that Glasgow will move to Level 2 tonight after being the only area in Level 3.

Ms Sturgeon said that vaccinations are opening the path to a less restrictive way of dealing with covid, but we are “not quite there yet”.

“We must still err on the side of caution” she reiterated.

The ‘delta’ variant, or Indian variant, now accounts for well over half of the new cases in the country and Scotland’s R number is above one now.

However, the first minister said Scotland can be very optimistic about much greater normality later this summer and beyond, thanks to the success of the vaccination programme.

“Indeed, in the days ahead – and while it might still feel a way off for many of us – we will publish more detailed work on what we expect life beyond Level 0 to look like, as that greater normality hopefully returns,” she said.

“One reason for proceeding with more caution now is to make it easier in future to resume that progress to Level 0 and then beyond.”

The first minister concluded by urging people to get tested regularly, with free lateral flow tests available on the NHS Inform website. She suggests we each test ourselves twice a week “as a way for all of us to contribute to the collective effort”.

She added that we should all be going to get vaccinated when we are called forward to do so. Anyone who thinks they should have received an invitation, but have not, can again visit the NHS Inform website.

Find out more information about the announcement and lowering of restrictions here.

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