Scotland’s Covid tier system ‘due on November 2’

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First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has today explained the likely timetable for the roll out of Scotland’s new coronavirus restrictions.

New ‘tiered levels of intervention’ have been drawn up and will be published in a strategic ‘draft’ framework document on Thursday or Friday this week, she said.

Next week, the heavyweight document would go before MSPs to be debated and voted on.

Providing it wins approval across the SNP-controlled chamber, the new tiered system across Scotland would then be effective from Monday, November 2, she explained today.

It could see tougher restrictions for some places in Scotland or lighter touch restrictions for others, depending on coronavirus cases in their area.

Mrs Sturgeon said today: ‘Over the course of next week we will be assessing the up-to-date data and deciding whether all of the country would go into a third level of the new framework, or whether parts of the country would go into one level and other parts into another.’

She was speaking ahead of meetings with other party leaders and briefings with COSLA, the national association of Scotland’s 32 local authorities to outline the government’s new approach.

Mrs Sturgeon said she expected to confirm tomorrow (Wednesday) on what date this week the draft document will be published.

It will also incorporate a review of Scotland’s testing system and likely business support plans for future phases of the pandemic.

The October 9 restrictions – which saw hospitality businesses affected and a ban on the indoor sale of alcohol – will also be discussed at a meeting of the Scottish Government’s cabinet tomorrow (Wednesday) ahead of a review.

A decision on whether those restrictions remain in place until the new tier system comes in is also expected.

Today, Prof Jason Leitch told the briefing that the measures had helped blunt the ‘acceleration’ of coronavirus and cases had not doubled, but he did not agree with an interpretation that the virus in Scotland had ‘peaked’ last week.