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

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The First Minister:

I have been saying for the past two weeks that we are concerned about the situations in Aberdeenshire and in the city of Aberdeen, and that we are monitoring them carefully. There have been outbreaks in Aberdeenshire in care homes and in workplaces, which have had an impact on the overall picture.

The work of test and protect is the most important targeted action to ensure that, as far as possible, outbreaks in particular settings are contained. I think that test and protect is working well to do that. However, it has become obvious that there has been wider background community transmission in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire, which means that we cannot be confident that level 2 restrictions would be sufficient to bring that under control. We hope that the level 3 restrictions will have that effect over the next few weeks.

Gillian Martin is absolutely right that travel restrictions are an important part of that. My plea to people—it is also the law—is not to travel to a level 3 area unless it is for essential reasons and, if their local authority is in level 3, not to travel outside it. That applies to Christmas shopping. People should shop locally whenever they can in order to stop the virus spreading and to help local businesses as much as possible.