Covid figures soar in the Borders with almost 500 new cases in a week

Borders General Hospital. Photo: Bill McBurnie.Borders General Hospital. Photo: Bill McBurnie.
Borders General Hospital. Photo: Bill McBurnie.
The new strain of Covid-19 which is sweeping the country appears to be fully embedded in the Borders after a massive 499 new cases were recorded over the last seven days.

This brings the total of people infected with the virus since last March to 1,964.

Therefore, more than a quarter of the Borders total number of cases were recorded last week alone, a sobering statistic indeed, and one which proves the need to stay safe in your own homes.

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The region, along with the rest of mainland Scotland was placed in tighter lockdown restrictions at midnight last night in the hope of beating the seemingly relentless spread of the new strain, which is said to be up to 70% more transmissible than the original strain.

Speaking to Scots today in her daily briefing, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said the Borders was one of the most worrying areas in the country, with the NHS in danger of being overwhelmed.

She said: “The Borders is one of the three or four health boards that gives us the greatest immediate concern about hospital capacity, and that makes it all the more important that the people of the Borders, Dumfries and Galloway and right across the country understands the severity of it and understands why we are saying to people ‘Stay at Home’.

Yesterday, when announcing the new rules regarding restrictions, she said NHS Borders was at over 60% ov Covid capacity as regards available hospital beds.

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The new lockdown began at midnight for all areas of Scotland currently in level four, including the Borders, and schools will shift to online learning from January 11 for the rest of the month, rather than returning on January 18, except for children of key workers, who are still being given the option of attending school.

Current strict travel restrictions also remain in place, with no-one allowed to travel into or out of Scotland unless it is for an essential purpose.

The lockdown restrictions are similar to those introduced in March at the start of the pandemic, and the advice to stay at home has again become law.

Ms Sturgeon said: “This means it will only be permissible to leave home for an essential purpose. This will include, for example, caring responsibilities, essential shopping, exercise and being part of an extended household.

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“In addition, anyone who is able to work from home, must do so. It will only be a reasonable excuse to leave your home to go to work, if that work cannot be done from home.”

The new restrictions also mean that people who were previously shielding because of other health conditions, and who cannot work from home, should not go into work at all.

However, the frequency of outdoor exercise is not being limited, which means people can “get outdoors for fresh air and exercise as much as possible”.

Now, a maximum of two people from up to two households will be able to meet outdoors, although children aged 11 and under will not be included in that limit.

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