Coronavirus in Scotland: Minister says virus driven by home visits not pubs

Scotland's deputy first minister has defended a decision to keep pubs open in greater Glasgow despite new limits on social contact.

Restrictions on visiting other households were reintroduced in Glasgow and two neighbouring areas on Tuesday.

John Swinney said a rise in Covid cases was driven by household contacts and not the hospitality sector.

The new rules affect more than 800,000 people in Glasgow City, West Dunbartonshire and East Renfrewshire.

A further 86 new coronavirus cases in the NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde area were confirmed on Wednesday – accounting for more than half of the total for the whole of Scotland, which was 156.

Mr Swinney told BBC Radio Scotland's Good Morning Scotland programme that it was important to take "early action" in the three areas to avoid having to take "more significant action" later which could affect the economy and schools.

He explained: "It's necessary because we feel we have to nip this particular problem in the bud in the west of Scotland.

"Across the whole of the country the number of positive cases per 100,000 is 9.2. In West Dunbartonshire it's 32.6, in Glasgow it's 21.8 and in East Renfrewshire it's 18.8 – so we've got sizeably different position in these three local authority areas."

These figures compare to a rate of 67.8 in Pendle, Lancashire, which was top of Public Health England's watchlist in its latest surveillance report.

The weekly rate of 32.6 in West Dunbartonshire is similar to the rates in Salford and Bury in Greater Manchester, which sit in the top third of the watchlist.

The restrictions are different to ones introduced in Aberdeen in August, which included a five-mile travel limit for leisure and holidays, as well as the closure of pubs and restaurants.

The contrast has been criticised by Douglas Lumsden, the co-leader of Aberdeen City Council and Conservative group leader.

In a series of tweets, he said: I hope that @NicolaSturgeon will explain to businesses in Aberdeen that were forced to close, why Glasgow businesses are not being forced to close.

"Aberdeen was locked down for 3 weeks, no hospitality, no travel, no visiting. Glasgow lockdown = no visiting."

He added: "Glasgow lockdown. No household gatherings so meet your pals in the pub instead."

In Glasgow city, West Dunbartonshire and East Renfrewshire people are being told not to host people from other households in their own homes or visit another person's home.

The restrictions came into effect from midnight. They will last for two weeks, but will be reviewed after a week.

People living in those areas should also not visRead More – Source

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