Scots warned to avoid Covid hotspots in England

The Scottish government has warned people not to visit areas of England affected by new local lockdown rules.

It said travel between Scotland and Greater Manchester, East Lancashire and parts of West Yorkshire should only be undertaken if “absolutely essential”.

People who are already in the affected areas do not need to return to Scotland early but are being urged to be “extra vigilant” in monitoring for symptoms.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said it was the first time in eight weeks that so many cases had been recorded in a single day.

She said the government was paying “close attention” to the figures – but pointed out that the number of tests being carried out had risen from 5,000 to 15,000 a day over the same period.

The positive cases represented less than 1% of those who had been tested, and were spread over nine health board areas.

The UK government imposed new local restrictions, which include banning separate households from meeting each other at home, in the north of England after a spike in Covid-19 cases.

Westminster Health Secretary Matt Hancock said the increase in transmission was due to people visiting friends and relatives.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson had given an update to the devolved government’s of the UK on the reasons for the decision.

The advice urging Scots not to travel to the affected areas of England was issued after Ms Sturgeon chaired a meeting of the Scottish government’s resilience committee.

“We have always been clear that localised flare ups are likely as we continue to supress the virus but by responding quickly and appropriately we can limit the effect these have on wider transmission,” she said.

“I strongly advise anyone planning to travel to areas affected in the north of England, or anyone planning to travel to Scotland from those same areas, to cancel their plans.”

She added that those whose travel was essential “should follow public health advice at all times”.

Mr Hancock told BBC Breakfast the UK government had taken “targeted” action based on information gathered from contact tracing, which he said showed that “most of the transmission is happening between households visiting each other, and people visiting relatives and friends”.

The new lockdown rules, which came into force at midnight, mean people from different households will not be allowed to meet in homes or private gardens.

They also ban members of two different households from mixing in pubs and restaurants, although individual households will still be able to visit such hospitality venues.

The changes come as Muslim communities prepare to celebrate Eid this weekend, and nearly four weeks after restrictions were eased across England – allowing people to meet indoors for the first time since late March.

The same restrictions will apply in Leicester, where a local lockdown has been in place for the last month.

However, pubs, restaurants and other facilities will be allowed to reopen in the city from Monday, as some of the stricter measures are lifted.

Meanwhile, plans to ease more coronavirus restrictions across England this weekend have been postponed for at least two weeks.

Casinos and bowling alleys will remain shut, with Mr Johnson saying it was time to “squeeze the brake pedal”.

Face coverings will be needed in more places, but shielding and workplace advice will still change.


News – Scots warned to avoid Covid hotspots in England

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