Coronavirus: Scotland extends lockdown in Glasgow area

Nicola Sturgeon expands restrictions, which will now affect more than 1m people

Closed businesses in the Shawlands area of Glasgow

Closed businesses in the Shawlands area of Glasgow.
Photograph: Katherine Anne Rose/The Observer

Nicola Sturgeon has ordered the extension of lockdown restrictions in the Glasgow area to two other councils, affecting more than 1 million people across the west of Scotland.

The first minister told the BBC the measures to restrict people’s right to visit other people at home were taken at a Scottish government resilience committee meeting after a surge in Covid-19 cases in the Glasgow area.

They were first imposed on Glasgow, East Renfrewshire and West Dunbartonshire six days ago after a rise in Covid-19 cases in the Greater Glasgow and Clyde health board area, including a spate of cases involving school pupils.

The expanded restrictions, which come into force at midnight on Monday, will now include households in Renfrewshire and East Dunbartonshire, affecting towns such as Paisley, after nearly 80 new cases in the health board area were reported overnight, and 92 on Sunday morning.

Nicola Sturgeon

1/ Regrettable but necessary in light of sharply rising numbers that restrictions on indoor household gatherings require to be continued for a further week in Glasgow, East Renfrewshire and West Dunbartonshire, and extended to Renfrewshire and East Dunbartonshire…

September 7, 2020

Local lockdown restrictions have also been imposed to control a Covid-19 outbreak in Caerphilly, south Wales. A range of new measures will come into force on Tuesday at 6pm in an attempt to reduce the number of new coronavirus infections.

People will not be allowed to enter or leave the Caerphilly county borough council area, which has a population of about 180,000, without a reasonable excuse – which includes work, if they are unable to work from home, or making a compassionate visit to a loved one or to give care. Care visits will be able to go ahead.

Everyone over the age of 11 will be required to wear face coverings in shops – which is not the law in other parts of Wales. People will only be able to meet outdoors and meetings with other people indoors and extended households will not be allowed for the time being. No overnight stays will be allowed.

The restrictions are being introduced following a rapid increase in the number of confirmed cases in coronavirus, which have been linked to clusters of people meeting indoors, not following social distancing guidelines in the borough and summer holidays overseas.

In the last seven days there have been 133 new cases confirmed in Caerphilly, equivalent to a rate of 55.4 cases per 100,000 population – the highest rate in Wales and one of the highest in the UK.

The measures introduced to stem the virus in the west of Scotland caused confusion last week, since the restrictions did not affect people living in extended households or grandparents bringing children home from school.

Unlike earlier controls imposed on Aberdeen, pubs and restaurants were not affected and there were no restrictions on travel or extra controls on meeting friends and family outdoors. Sturgeon said new test-and-protect data meant health officials were able to develop a much clearer picture of how outbreaks were spreading.

During her regular virus briefing earlier on Monday, Sturgeon had said the Scottish government could “put the brakes” on further relaxations of the national lockdown and that it might reimpose some restrictions later this week.

She was speaking after 146 new positive Covid-19 cases were reported overnight in Scotland, with 78 of those in the Greater Glasgow and Clyde health board area, after 225 cases were reported on Sunday. There were 12 further hospital admissions, taking the total to 246, with five in intensive care.

The surge makes it unlikely Scotland will move from phase 3 to phase 4 of its route map of lockdown when Sturgeon gives the next three-weekly review statement on Thursday.

Sturgeon confirmed the daily case numbers were similar to those last seen in early May, but said there was far more testing now, capturing many more cases than in May. Even so, it was clear there was a fresh surge in cases: “As we have released ourselves from lockdown, we have also released the virus from lockdown.”