Covid-19 restrictions tighten despite case rate slowing

Tighter lockdown restrictions are being implemented across Scotland from Saturday in a bid to slow down the Covid-19 infection rate.

By Kevin Janiak
Thursday, 14th January 2021, 11:22 am
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.

In the Borders yesterday, 25 new positive cases were reported, with a seven-day total of 303 – which is down considerably from the 508 reported for the previous seven days, but the figure still gives cause for concern.

The new restrictions will see Borders takeaway outlets only able to serve food and drink from a hatchway or their shop door.

Click and collect services will now only be available for retailers selling essential items, and more people will be required to work from home.

The drinking of alcohol outdoors is also banned.

Detailing the new restrictions yesterday, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said: “I know that none of this makes for enjoyable listening.

“If it is any comfort – though I don’t expect it will be – it gives me no pleasure to be talking about further restrictions on businesses and on our individual freedoms to come and go as we please.

“But please know that we would be doing none of this, if we did not believe it essential to get and keep this potentially deadly virus under control.

“Case numbers are still so high – and the new variant is so infectious – that we must use be as tough and as effective as we can to stop it spreading.

“That means taking further steps to stop people from meeting and interacting, indoors and also outdoors.

“Today’s measures will help us to achieve that. They are a regrettable, but necessary, means to an end.”

It’s hoped the extra restrictions will take some of the pressure off the local health authority, which is experiencing one of its most challenging periods since the pandemic began.

Earlier this week, NHS Borders reported that there were 53 patients with confirmed or suspected Covid-19 being cared for across the region’s hospitals, five of whom are in the intensive care unit ... the highest local figures since the pandemic started.

A spokesperson said: “There are currently three dedicated Covid wards open in the Borders General Hospital and we are ready to open a fourth ward to cope with the heightened demand if that is required.”

Dr Tim Patterson, director of public health at NHS Borders, said that youngsters should not be complacent about the virus.

He said: “Coronvirus affects people of all ages. Please do not be complacent.

“There are high rates of infection across the population including younger age groups, and we are seeing patients of all ages requiring hospital treatment for Covid.

“We remain in lockdown across mainland Scotland.

“You must follow the Scottish Government advice and stay at home.

“If you do not mix with people you cannot come into contact with the virus.

“The actions we all take now will enable us to emerge from this very challenging period as soon as we can. It is important for physical and mental health to get outside for exercise if you can.

“However if you do leave your house for exercise please remember that you can only meet up with one other person from one other household, and you must maintain social distancing whilst you are together. If the place you go to is busy then please leave and go somewhere else.”