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Coronavirus / First minister outlines new tiered approach to Covid-19 restrictions

The bottom two levels of the five-tiered system will allow household visits

First minister Nicola Sturgeon. Photo: Scottish Government

DETAILS of where Shetland will be placed in the Scottish Government’s proposed five-tiered system of coronavirus restrictions could become clearer next week.

The new system is set to be debated by MSPs next week before coming into force on 2 November.

First minister Nicola Sturgeon said on Friday in her daily briefing that decisions on what tiers local authorities will be placed in will be discussed next week.

Shetland Islands Council leader Steven Coutts said his initial reaction was that he assumed Shetland would be placed in the either level zero or level one, which would allow people to socialise indoors again.

“It is welcome that there is an acknowledgement of the limitations of a ‘one size fits all’ approach,” he said.

“It is this change and recognition that I have been advocating.

“I would expect to have discussions with the government in advance of any decision on the final level in Shetland. Hopefully there will be further clarity for Shetland next week.”

Sturgeon said parliament will vote on the framework on Tuesday. “Assuming parliament endorses the framework, we will then take decisions on which levels will apply initially to different parts of the country from 2 November,” the first minister said.

“We will consult with local authorities and local directors of public health as part of that process and take advice from the national incident management team. And when we set out these decisions, we will also set out our rationale for them.”

The application of levels will thereafter be reviewed on a weekly basis.

Sturgeon, meanwhile, said 1,401 people tested positive for Covid-19 yesterday (Thursday).

An additional 18 deaths have been recorded in the last 24 hours.

The new framework for restrictions will come with five tiers, and it will be able to place different areas of Scotland under different guidance.

It can be read online here.

The bottom tier will be closer to normal life, while the top tier will represent near-lockdown.

In tier zero folk could meet indoors with eight people from three households, and most businesses would be open with safety measures in place.

Level one would see slightly more restrictions – for example, indoor household meetings would reduce to six people from two households.

Level two would be similar to what is in place across the country just now, while level three would be like the current Central Belt restrictions.

The top tier – level four – would be close to full lockdown, with non-essential shops forced to close.

Sturgeon said the system will allow areas with a low prevalence of Covid-19 to potentially have different rules.

The big question locally is where Shetland will be placed in the system, and whether this could mean restrictions may be eased.

However, Sturgeon previously said travel restrictions may have to be a “trade off”.

Indicators due to be used to determine where areas will be placed in the tiers will include the number of cases per 100,000 people over the past seven days and the percentage of tests that are positive over the past seven days.

The first minister said in her daily briefing that the government is optimistic about the impact of restrictions in the last couple of months.