Sunday, 20 Jun 2021

Scotland ‘in the foothills of a third wave’ as Nicola Sturgeon scrambles to contain spread

Scotland 'on foothills of a third wave' warns expert

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Scotland could be at the beginning of a third coronavirus wave, a medical expert has warned. Professor Jason Leitch told BBC Breakfast that rising coronavirus cases meant the public needed to be cautious. However, he added that unlike in previous waves, the success of the vaccine rollout should mitigate the worst of the hospitalisations and deaths.

BBC Breakfast presenter Sally Nugent asked Professor Leitch: “In your view, is Scotland now in a third wave of this pandemic?”

He replied: “I think we’re in the foothills of a third wave, but this is the ‘during the vaccine wave’ isn’t it?

“So we’re very hopeful it’s going to look very different.

“That will depend on a number of things. It will depend on vaccine and rollout, people coming forward, it will depend on local public health measures which we’ve seen successfully manage a few fairly large outbreaks now across Scotland, in regions of Scotland.”

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Nicola Sturgeon announced on June 1 that millions in Scotland will remain in level two of the five-level restrictions system.

Professor Leitch also referred to Glasgow, which is currently the only part of Scotland in level three and set to enter level two on June 5.

He said: “We’re not quite over the hump in Glasgow in particular, and we’re beginning to see this variant spread from around Glasgow.

“Which is why you can see some areas in Scotland, I would suggest not still losing momentum, I think they’re still moving forward, but stopping at level two a little bit longer than we had hoped. 

 

“But that’s still indoor mixing, still hospitality, cinemas can reopen in Glasgow – the last to do so.”

Prof Leitch added that although cases in both the UK and Scotland are on the rise once again, the vaccine should make a significant difference to the number made seriously ill or killed by coronavirus.

“So during the vaccine period we’ve seen a difference between the cases, the hospitalisations, and the deaths, so the formula has changed.

“The problem is that everyone who wants to be hopeful says ‘the formula’s changed forever.’

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“Well the public health advice is ‘not yet’ – we’re not quite sure how the formula has changed so we need to still be cautious.”

Concerns have been raised over the spread of the Indian variant in recent weeks.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock told MPs last week that the variant now accounts for over 75 percent of all new Covid-19 cases in the UK.

The variant is thought to be highly transmissible and has caused localised outbreaks in parts of England including North Tyneside and Bolton, which are now subject to extra restrictions. 
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