Part of the debate – in the Scottish Parliament on 15th December 2020.

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The First Minister:

I understand that the situation is difficult for everyone and that, in raising issues in the chamber, members are reflecting the frustrations of their constituents. However, Christine Grahame has raised important points.

I point out that, although the Scottish Borders area remains in level 1, and I hope that that will continue to be the case, there has been an increase in cases there over the past few days. I therefore urge people across that area to comply with all mitigations to ensure that that increase does not continue.

Last week, we again heard objections to travel restrictions. However, travel restrictions are there for a reason and the Borders is a good illustration of that. It has had areas of higher prevalence around it. Therefore, if we want to keep the Borders in level 1, it is important that we do not have people from other areas, where the virus is spreading more rapidly, coming into the Borders and imperilling that position.

Similarly, last week, we heard real opposition—and again, I understand it; it is legitimate—to the decision on Edinburgh and Midlothian. However, I hope that what has happened in the week since, even if it does not make everybody agree with every decision that we are taking, will at least make those who were objecting to the Edinburgh decision last week reflect and accept that we are not taking these decisions lightly; we are taking these decisions because we think that they are necessary. That applies to the application of the levels and Christine Grahame is absolutely right to say that it applies to the essential travel restrictions that remain in place.