Record Covid cases

Relief for firms as Sturgeon rules out ‘circuit breaker’

face mask office worker

Everyone is urged to stick to the guidelines

Nicola Sturgeon has no plans to re-introduce restrictions despite a record number of daily Covid cases.

The First Minister said there was a “very sharp rise” yesterday (Thursday) to 6,835 cases 1,910 more than the day before.

It is the highest number recorded in a single day so far during the pandemic, with 14.2% of tests carried out coming back positive, up from 11.2% the previous day.

It is is the third time this week a new record has been set and has prompted concern that a tough response would be required.

Ms Sturgeon said the sharp rise was a “cause for concern” but the Scottish government was not currently considering the introduction of a “circuit breaker” lockdown, or short period of restrictions, to bring the outbreak back under control.

However, she stressed the importance of everyone “playing their part” in halting the spread of the virus.

Ms Sturgeon had previously said the country was at a “fragile and pivotal moment” in the pandemic.

Today she could not rule anything out, but that no-one wanted to “go backwards” to even limited restrictions.

A total of 479 people were recorded in hospital with COVID yesterday, 53 more people than the day before and 147 more than a week ago. 47 people remained in intensive care.

There were four more deaths, bringing Scotland’s total to 8,103 during the pandemic.

Ms Sturgeon said cases were rising across the UK but Scotland has seen a particularly sharp rise.

This may be attributed to schools returning earlier than in England.

Ms Sturgeon urged people to stick to the guidelines, get vaccinated and test themselves regularly.

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She added: “I hope we can get through this with all of us behaving sensibly and appropriately.”

The decision not to impose further restrictions will be a relief to those businesses which are steadily recovering from the pandemic.

Some are carrying huge debts and are facing the additional burden of paying staff who have been on furlough.

Scottish Conservative spokesman for COVID Recovery, Murdo Fraser, said: “Nicola Sturgeon cannot put Scotland’s recovery in jeopardy by heightening the threat of restrictions when our vaccine system has been so successful. 

“The Scottish Fiscal Commission are reporting that Scotland’s economy is on course to rebound strongly, earlier than anticipated, with the condition that we keep moving forward past Covid restrictions. 

“The SNP Government need to put recovery as the priority over clinging onto powers which, at this stage, are not justified.”

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