Part of the debate – in the Scottish Parliament on 8th December 2020.

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The First Minister:

The local authority has indicated that, working in close partnership with the local director of public health and other local agencies, it will be intensifying its focus on priority areas, notably transport, particularly car sharing, ensuring compliance with restrictions in and guidance on workplaces and retail settings, and stepping up public communication. That is welcome and important.

I have said before that the virus is no one’s fault. It is not the case that, because it is going down in one area and going up in another, that means that people are doing things wrong. However, it is a reminder that getting levels of the virus down takes concerted effort and local leadership. I pay tribute to local authorities across the country for the leadership that they are showing.

We have been worried and are still concerned about Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire. There appears to be a background increase in community transmission. We thought carefully about putting the areas up to level 3 this week. However, because there has been a slight decline in recent days, we have decided to give more time to the local authorities to work with public health experts locally to try to stem that increase more sustainably. I hope that we will see that progress in the weeks ahead.