By Bill Heaney
The First Minister has confirmed the latest changes to local protection levels, including the news that West Dunbartonshire will move from Level 4 to Level 3.
Nicola Sturgeon told the Scottish Parliament on Tuesday 8 December that all 11 council areas which have been under Level 4 restrictions will move into Level 3.
It comes as Ms Sturgeon reported a further 692 positive cases in Scotland in the last 24 hours and 33 deaths from Covid-19. There are 983 people in hospital with Covid-19, with 57 people in ICU.
Here is everything you need to know from Nicola Sturgeon’s announcement.
The changes will come into force on Friday 11 December, and will be in place for a week while they are reviewed again.
The review looked at each of Scotland’s 32 council areas and local protection levels were decided depending on the prevalence of the virus within each individual area.
Ms Sturgeon said the prevalence of the virus in many areas had fallen “significantly”.
Areas that were in Level 4 will move to Level 3 from Friday 11 December at 6pm, with retail premises permitted to open from 6am on that day to help stores manage the flow of customers when reopening.
When will the restrictions end?
There is currently no confirmed end date for the five-tier system in Scotland.
It is likely that these local lockdown restrictions will continue into the spring and even summer months, until a significant proportion of the population has been vaccinated.
The first people were immunised in Scotland on 8 December, but it could take months before enough people are given the jab.
Scotland’s national clinical director Jason Leitch said it is hoped that under 50s will begin to be vaccinated against coronavirus by the summer.
He said the aim was to vaccinate all over 50s in the country during the first half of 2021, targeting those most at risk from the virus.
This means we are likely to face varying degrees of local lockdown during the first half of 2021, at least.