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Nicola Sturgeon says ministers ‘closely monitoring’ rising Glasgow Covid spike

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Nicola Sturgeon has said the Scottish Government is monitoring rising numbers of coronavirus cases in Glasgow as the country gets set to ease restrictions.

Latest data shows there are 58.3 infections per 100,000 population and a senior health official has warned there were clusters of high infection rates in parts of the city.

It comes as all mainland local authority areas, except Moray, are due to move to level two of the routemap out of lockdown on Monday.

The First Minister tweeted: “We are seeing an increase in cases in Glasgow just now and, amidst concern about the so-called Indian variant, we are monitoring it very closely.”

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READ MORE: Glasgow spike in infections ‘linked to new variants’

It followed comments from Linda de Caestecker, director of public health at NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, that an increase in case numbers was to be expected as restrictions eased but she was “concerned” about a rise in Glasgow.

Last night, Scotland’s National Clinical Director Professor Jason Leitch said: “We are concerned. We’ve seen Glasgow go up for about five or six days in a row now.

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“The whole country is at 25 per 100 now – Glasgow is at 58, which is higher than we would like. [It’s] a big urban centre [and] we’ve had trouble in the Central Belt previously.

“We don’t have any confirmation of Indian variant cases  – the genomic sequencing takes a little longer. But people shouldn’t panic. They should be cautious. It’s a warning to all of us.”

Professor Leitch added that he “really hoped” the planned easing of restrictions to level two in Glasgow’s on Monday was not being put in jeopardy. 

He said: “The decision to move through the numbers is not just one number. The positivity rate remains quite low, hospital admissions are low, intensive care is low and the mortality is low.

“That doesn’t mean I’m complacent – not by any means. I want to encourage people to follow the rules over the weekend and into Monday and follow the new rules on Monday.

“And any suggestion that people should gather in groups and march or parade or anything that breaks the rules – please don’t do that.”

He added: “Glasgow is at a fragile moment. I want it to be able to move to level two and I’m confident that it can, but we just need to keep an eye on it.”

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Earlier, Ms de Caestecker told Radio Scotland: “The numbers go up very, very quickly – particularly as we see new variants coming in that are more transmissible.

“What we know is that it’s not the Kent variant, so the assumption is it’s the Indian variant, but we haven’t got the sequencing yet so we can’t be sure.”

Meanwhile, weekly deaths from Covid-19 in Scotland have fallen to single figures for the first time since September last year, according to the latest data.

National Records of Scotland (NRS) figures show seven deaths related to coronavirus were registered between May 3 and May 9, down 12 on the previous week.

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It is the lowest total in almost eight months.

Deaths from the virus have been steadily falling since mid-January, when they hit 452 during the second winter peak.

They were last in single figures in the week beginning September 7, when five deaths were recorded.

The latest data shows 10,104 people have now died with coronavirus in Scotland since the pandemic began.

In the most recent week, North Lanarkshire recorded two coronavirus-related deaths, and Angus, Glasgow, Inverclyde, Midlothian and South Lanarkshire all recorded one.

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Five deaths occurred in hospitals, one took place in a care home and one in a non-institutional setting such as at home.

Pete Whitehouse, director of statistical services at NRS, said: “There were seven registered Covid-related deaths last week which is the lowest number since September 2020.

“Across Scotland there were no registered Covid-related deaths in 26 of the 32 local authority areas.

“The total deaths from all causes were 12% below the average level for this time of year, although last week included a public holiday and some death registration may have been delayed.”

The statistics are published weekly and cover all deaths registered in Scotland where Covid-19 is mentioned on the death certificate.

They differ from the lab-confirmed coronavirus deaths announced daily by the Scottish Government because the NRS figures include suspected or probable cases of Covid-19.

Under the daily measure, 345 new cases of coronavirus were recorded in the past 24 hours, and no deaths.

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