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Easing of lockdown 'may come sooner in rural areas'

Miss Sturgeon on the BBC

WE could be among the first to see Covid-19 lockdown restrictions eased as infection rates in rural areas are lower than in the Central Belt. Nicola Sturgeon said today that the Scottish Government is "not ruling out" easing restrictions in some areas before others. At her daily briefing on the crisis, the First Minister indicated some parts of the country are less badly affected by Coronavirus, with - for instance - fewer cases currently in hospitals in Dumfries and Galloway, Orkney and Shetland. However, Miss Sturgeon stressed she was not proposing an easing up at this stage, simply emphasising that a phased approach might be a possibility. Currently Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have stricter restrictions than England, after Boris Johnson slightly easedthe lockdown south of the border. Information from the National Records of Scotland indicates the highest rates of death linked to the virus were recorded in the Greater Glasgow and Clyde and Lothian health board areas, while none have been reported in the Western Isles. The latest Scottish Government figures say there were fewer than five cases in hospitals in each of Orkney, Shetland, the Western Isles and Dumfries and Galloway, and only five in the Highland region. Miss Sturgeon said: "I've never ruled out regional variations if both the evidence backs up that kind of approach and we judge they can be implemented in a practical and clearly understandable way. "We don't rule that out, but we are not at this stage proposing that kind of regionally varied approach in Scotland. "We still have a virus reproduction rate and incidence of the virus that are still too high for us to meaningfully at this stage ease up on lockdown. "That is something obviously which is under ongoing monitoring. We will monitor that on a Scotland-wide basis, but if the evidence leads us to think things could be done on a regional basis, we've never ruled that out." The NHS in Dumfries and Galloway says the total number of positive Covid-19 cases within the region is currently 255. "As of noon yesterday, there have been 44 deaths in the region (either within a hospital setting or within the community) in which Coronavirus was either the primary cause of death or a factor potentially contributing to death." The NHS D&G added that as at noon today, there have been 35 deaths within a hospital setting where Coronavirus was either the primary cause of death or a factor potentially contributing to death. The total number of hospital inpatients with Covid-19 who have since recovered is put at 79 by NHS D&G. More detail on the figures and how they are compiled by he NHS is available at http://www.nhsdg.co.uk/covid-19/

<< back Published: 14 May 2020, 17:36

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