FM: Borders and Dumfries and Galloway to remain in level two

Credit: PA

The south of Scotland will remain in level two of Scotland’s new Covid alert system, the First Minister has announced.

Nicola Sturgeon said there was no 'sufficient evidence' to move Dumfries and Galloway and the Scottish Borders down a level.

In level two, six people from two households can meet outdoors and no socialising is allowed indoors.

Speaking in Holyrood, the First Minister said: "While there are signs of stability and even improvement, there is not yet sufficient evidence of a sustained decline in the number of cases.

"Indeed, I have to point out that in the Borders and - although to a lesser extent - Dumfries and Galloway, we have seen an increase in cases in the most recent data we have available.

"For these reasons we consider it sensible for these areas to remain in level two for now."

Ms Sturgeon went on to say that she 'remains hopeful' the areas will be put in level one soon.

The five-stage Covid alert system came into force on November 2, ranging from level zero where life is closest to normal, to level four, which is close to a full lockdown.

In today's announcement, no local authority areas in Scotland have been moved down a level following the first review of the system. The First Minister did, however, place three council areas in to level three after an increase in cases - Fife, Perth and Kinross and Angus.

Scotland has recorded 39 new coronavirus deaths in the last 24 hours, latest figures show. You can see which tier your area is in using this postcode checker.

Scotland's five-tier system. Credit: ITV News

Commenting on the position of Dumfries snd Galloway, Director of Public Health Dr Tim Patterson said: “The key message here is that our rate of confirmed cases of Covid-19 in the Borders is growing at present and this is a cause for concern.

 “There is a risk that if the growth continues at this rate we will reach the high levels of infection that the central belt has seen. This in turn will impact on the delivery of health and care services.

 “Whilst we are prepared for this, it is really important that everyone plays their part and follows all of the guidelines and restrictions that are in place. This gives us the best chance that we have to slow the spread, minimise any further impact on our daily lives and protect the most vulnerable members of our community.