Nicola Sturgeon has hailed a reduction in hospital cases of coronavirus and another small drop in the number of patients in ICU as “reasons to be optimistic”.
She began First Minister’s Questions on Thursday by saying there have been 464 new Covid-19 cases reported in the last 24 hours, representing 1.8% of all tests taken.
In the daily figures for Thursday, 83 people were in hospital, down 15 on the previous day, with four patients in intensive care, down from six.
There were also no further deaths recorded in Scotland.
Ms Sturgeon said the Scottish Government wants to get Glasgow back on track “as quickly as possible, but that’s got to be done responsibly and safely”.
The city is the only part of Scotland still under Level 3 restrictions.
Ms Sturgeon said: “We see a reduction in hospital cases today, and a small reduction in ICU cases, so there are reasons to be optimistic there, but we’ve got to continue – in the interest of business and in the interest of everybody – to take careful and cautious decisions to get the whole country back to normality.”
When challenged by Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross that Glasgow has now been under lockdown restrictions for 269 days, the First Minister replied: “I know how long the city of Glasgow has been under restrictions because unlike him I am a resident of the city of Glasgow so these restrictions apply to me just as they apply to others.
“I know how difficult it is for residents and businesses across Glasgow but I also know how dangerous it would be if we eased restrictions too quickly and allowed a new variant of this virus, that we know is spreading perhaps even more quickly than the variant at the start of the year, to take a grip again.
“That’s why there are the public health interventions under way across Glasgow right now… I said earlier in the week we see cautious signs for optimism that that is working, and we will continue to monitor that very carefully.”
As part of those measures, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde has called on people living in the south of Glasgow aged 40 or over to visit a Covid-19 vaccination drop-in centre running at the Gurdwara in Pollokshields.
The centre is open from 11am to 6.30pm on Thursday and offers first doses or a second to those due to have it in the next eight to 12 weeks.
Two hundred appointments are available on a first come, first served basis.
Thursday’s statistics also indicated 3,155,733 people have received the first dose of a Covid-19 vaccination and 1,913,809 have received their second dose.
While Glasgow remains in Level 3, an incident management team which was set up in Moray due to an outbreak there has now been closed with testing advice returning to normal.
Moray moved from Level 3 to Level 2 restrictions last weekend.
The region is now seeing its lowest Covid rates since before Christmas, with NHS Grampian deputy director of public health Chris Littlejohn saying: “The risk in Moray is now broadly the same as other Level 2 areas.
“We need to remember this is still an infectious virus, with more transmissible variants being passed around in some parts of the country.
“There is little certainty about how they affect serious illness, hospitalisation, long Covid and death.
“We are heading into an uncertain summer but doing that as a country and Moray is now on a par with most of the country.”