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28 May, 2021 13:44

Indian variant Covid-19 spike in Scotland, Glasgow remains under tougher curbs with cases ‘uncomfortably high’

Indian variant Covid-19 spike in Scotland, Glasgow remains under tougher curbs with cases ‘uncomfortably high’

Scotland has been hit by an increase in the number of people testing positive for Covid-19 with the Indian variant of the virus behind as many as 50% of new cases in the country, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has said.

Glasgow will remain under its current level of restrictions due to “uncomfortably high” case levels in the city, Sturgeon told a coronavirus briefing on Friday.

The announcement came as the percentage of people in Scotland testing positive increased in the week ending May 22, according to the latest infection survey by the UK government’s Office for National Statistics (ONS).

“We have seen an increase in cases that are not compatible with the UK variant in England and Scotland; these are likely to be compatible with variant B.1.617.2, first identified in India,” the ONS report said on Friday.

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Sturgeon said the Indian variant now accounts for up to 50% of Covid-19 cases in Scotland. UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock said that on Thursday the strain is responsible for up to 75% of the UK’s total cases.

England and Northern Ireland also showed signs of an increase in the number of people testing positive for Covid-19, although infection rates “remain low” across the UK, the ONS said.

Scotland’s so-called ‘R’ number may now be as high as 1.3, Sturgeon said, meaning the virus is spreading at an increasing rate.

The first minister said that the increase in the number of cases appears to be among younger people, showing that the vaccine may be having an effect among older generations.

Also on rt.com 3 in 4 UK adults have Covid-19 antibodies, new data shows as health secretary says vaccine ‘severing link’ between cases and death

She confirmed that cases in Glasgow had surged by 30% over the past week, increasing from 112 cases per 100,000 people to 146 per 100,000.

“Case levels in Glasgow are uncomfortably high but there are signs of progress,” she said.

The city will continue with Level 3 restrictions, meaning alcohol cannot be served indoors and people are banned from visiting other people’s homes.

If Glasgow’s virus incidence rate remains stable, Sturgeon said it will move to Level 2 measures next week, meaning cafes, pubs and restaurants can open indoors and travel anywhere in Scotland is permitted.

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