Covid-19 Local Protection Levels (West Dunbartonshire)

– in the Scottish Parliament on 26th November 2020.

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Photo of Jackie Baillie Jackie Baillie Labour

West Dunbartonshire was raised to tier 4 last Friday, despite a 35 per cent decrease in the number of positive cases in the preceding week. In the week before 20 November, the drop was a significant 25 per cent, which was much greater than the drop across Scotland as a whole—at the time, that was 9 per cent.

I understand that it is difficult to get the balance right, but this is having a significant impact on my constituents’ economic and mental wellbeing. Will the First Minister review the position in West Dunbartonshire? People are unclear why they are in tier 4 when there are local authority areas with a higher number of positive cases that are currently in tier 3.

Photo of Nicola Sturgeon Nicola Sturgeon Scottish National Party

Those are perfectly legitimate questions. As I have tried—and will continue to try—to explain to the best of my ability, when we make these decisions, we take account of the indicators that we set out publicly, which are about case numbers, test positivity and pressure on hospital and intensive care unit services. We also have to make judgments about the direction of travel: whether the position in a particular area is coming down fast enough and whether it remains significantly above the national average. It was a judgment about that balance of factors that led to the area that Jackie Baillie’s constituency is in being put into level 4.

We have said that the level 4 restrictions will end on 11 December, and that remains the case. Between now and then, we will be looking at the particular circumstances in West Dunbartonshire. My apologies; I do not have the West Dunbartonshire figures in front of me, but I will get the most up-to-date figures later today. Certainly, until very recently, they were above the national average.

We will look at the direction of travel as we make decisions about what level each area will go into after 11 December. That is a process of consideration not just for West Dunbartonshire but for all those 11 council areas; that will be under way for the next couple of weeks.