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Sturgeon launches UK border restrictions: SNP bans travel to and from English Covid areas

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Nicola Sturgeon calls Indian variant ‘April 02’

The First Minister made the announcement as she warned new Covid cases have risen by more than 25 percent across Scotland over the last week. She also said the new travel restrictions to Bedford, Bolton and Blackburn with Darwin were being introduced to help prevent the variant first identified in India from spreading rapidly. These areas in England have seen the biggest surges of the variant over recent weeks.

Speaking at a Scottish Government coronavirus briefing today, Ms Sturgeon said: “We know that there are particularly serious outbreaks in three specific English local authority areas – Bedford, Bolton and Blackford and Darwen.

“So for that reason, from Monday onwards, we are putting hopefully temporary travel restrictions on travel between Scotland and those three local authority areas in England.

So if you were planning to visit friends or relatives or to stay in those areas you must delay your visit.

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”She added it “makes more sense” to then review the new restrictions on a weekly basis, before then announcing Glasgow will be the only area to stay in Level 3 of the nation’s measures.

Sturgeon has imposed a Scotland travel ban to UK Covid hotspots Bedford, Bolton, Blackburn

Sturgeon has imposed a Scotland travel ban to UK Covid hotspots Bedford, Bolton, Blackburn (Image: GETTY)

Ms Sturgeon added authorities are “fairly certain” the increase in cases in Glasgow is due to the Indian variant, which she called April-02 in the briefing.

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She added there was still a rise in cases despite “extensive public health measures” brought in over the past 10 days.

It comes as the number of cases per 100,000 people in Glasgow has increased from 71 last week to 122.6 in the seven days to May 18.

Meanwhile, East Renfrewshire had a higher seven-day average rate of cases than Glasgow which earlier this week, will remain in Level 2.

READ MORE: BBC POLL: Should licence fee be scrapped as Bashir report probed?

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The temporary ban will start from Monday

The temporary ban will start from Monday (Image: GETTY)

Ms Sturgeon also said improvements in Moray would mean it could join the rest of mainland Scotland in Level 2 from tomorrow.

Infection levels in Moray, in the north-east of Scotland, are down from 98 cases per 100,000 people last week to 37, with test positivity falling from 2.8 percent to 1.3 percent.

In Level 2, people can hug, meet indoors and travel across the UK and overseas.

Hospitality venues can also open later than in Level 3 and serve alcohol indoors.

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Indian variant: Spread of B.1.617.2 virus since March

Ms Sturgeon said the total number of cases in East Renfrewshire is significantly smaller than in Glasgow, with only 17 on Thursday compared to 166 in the city, and could be traced to “specific household clusters”.

When asked whether Glasgow could face restrictions for a longer period because of the numbers, she said: “The reason I’m not saying we’ll come back in three weeks now is I hope the overall duration of these higher level restrictions in Glasgow will be shorter than was the case earlier this year and at the tail end of last year.

“I think it actually makes more sense to review on a weekly basis, because we don’t want to keep Glasgow in higher level restrictions any longer than is necessary… because of the scale of the public health interventions that we have in deployment right now.

“And in determining where to put travel restrictions we just have to be mindful of people’s travel patterns – people might live in the south side of Glasgow but in the city they don’t necessarily stay in the south side of Glasgow all the time because they work elsewhere and vice versa.”

The First Minister said it

The First Minister said it “makes more sense” to review coronavirus restrictions on a weekly basis (Image: EXPRESS)

She also urged fans not to gather in big groups to watch the Scottish Cup final on Saturday and said supporters should not assemble in large numbers either in pubs or in people’s homes.

Elsewhere, the Indian variant of Covid has been described as a “black cloud on the horizon” for Ireland by the country’s chief medical officer.

Around 72 cases of the variant have been confirmed in Ireland to date, up from 59 earlier this week.

Dr Tony Holohan said public health officials are “genuinely concerned” about the variant and its increased transmissibility, despite the situation being “stable” at present.

He said: “The situation is broadly stable for the most part.

Mrs Strugeon added the variant first identified in India was likely to change quickly

Mrs Sturgeon added the variant first identified in India was likely to change quickly (Image: GETTY)

“The public is staying with us in terms of maintaining a high level of behaviour consistent with our public health advice.

“The vaccination programme is continuing at pace and we’re increasing the proportion of people being vaccinated on a daily basis.

“In broad terms you could characterise it that the sky is for the most part blue. But there is a black cloud on the horizon which is the Indian variant.

“We are genuinely concerned about the reports we’re seeing and the credibility we attach to them around the increased transmissibility associated with that particular variant.”

This post originally appeared on Daily Express :: UK Feed

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