By First Minister Nicola Sturgeon

The total number of positive cases reported yesterday was 1,089, which is 4.6 per cent of all tests reported. The total number of cases is therefore now 85,612. There are 1,212 people in hospital, which is 29 fewer than yesterday, and there are 85 people in intensive care, which is three fewer than yesterday.

I regret to report, however, that in the past 24 hours another 50 deaths have been registered of patients who had tested positive in the previous 28 days. The total number of deaths under that daily measurement is now 3,427. Once again, I convey my deepest condolences to everyone who has lost a loved one.

We will shortly publish the latest estimate of the reproduction number in Scotland. We expect that it will show the R number now to be very slightly below 1. That indicates that the current tough measures that have been in place have had an effect. However, the overall national situation, which the R number estimate reflects, masks some regional variations. In the parts of the country where there is the highest prevalence, we have not yet seen as significant or as rapid a fall in cases as we need to see.

a person holding a sign

That is why we have taken the decision to move 11 local authority areas to level 4, from 6 pm tomorrow (Friday) until Friday 11 December. Of course, that decision was a difficult one to make; it was even more difficult for many businesses and individuals to hear. However, in the situation that we face, in common with much of the rest of the world, the job of Government must be to do what is necessary to save lives and protect health, even when we know that such decisions will not be welcome.

In our judgment, and that of the experts who advise us, those temporary measures are necessary to reduce loss of life and serious illness, to ensure that hospitals and intensive care facilities are able to treat Covid and non-Covid patients over the winter, and to allow people, albeit in a limited and careful way, the prospect of being able to spend some time with loved ones over the Christmas period.

Difficult though it is, I ask people to abide by the rules in order to keep themselves and their families safe, as part of our collective efforts to get through the rest of the pandemic with as little harm to health and as little loss of life as possible. Anyone who is in any doubt about the regulations that apply in their area should visit the Scottish Government’s website and use the postcode checker.

I will close by giving a summary of the advice and rules that are in place. With the exception of people in Orkney, Shetland and the Western Isles, no one should visit others’ homes at the moment, except for essential purposes. Outdoors and in indoor public places, we should meet in groups of no more than six people from a maximum of two households. Slightly more relaxed rules for outdoor meetings come into force today in the level 1 areas, but the basic rule remains six from two. Of course, travel restrictions continue to be vital, and some of those restrictions will become law from tomorrow evening. More detailed information about them can be found on the Scottish Government website.

Finally, I ask everyone to remember the FACTS advice: wear face coverings; avoid crowded places; clean your hands and hard surfaces regularly; keep a 2m distance from people in other households; and self-isolate and get tested immediately if you have any Covid symptoms. I again thank everyone who is following all those rules.

Artwork by Gemma Woods Fraser

Leave a Reply