The Scottish Government have today confirmed that North Ayrshire will be placed into Level 3 of the new five level framework of coronavirus.
The five level framework comes into effect on Monday 2 November with Level 3 broadly resembling restrictions which were introduced to the Central Belt and West of Scotland earlier in the month.
Under Level 3 restrictions, cafes, pubs and restaurants are able to open until 6pm to serve food and non alcoholic drinks. Leisure and entertainment venues, including cinemas are to remain closed under this level and indoor exercise is restricted to individuals.
The assessment of what level of protection should be applied to each local authority is broadly based on an analysis of five key indicators:
- number of positive COVID-19 cases per hundred thousand people over the last week
- percentage of positive tests
- forecast for new cases in the weeks ahead
- capacity of local hospitals
- capacity of local intensive care facilities
Restriction levels will be assessed on a weekly basis with the first review date taking place on Tuesday 10 November.
These factors are assessed alongside the advice and recommendations of local public health officials, National Incident Management Team, the Scottish Government’s chief clinical and policy advisors, and consideration of local circumstances, such as: specific COVID-19 outbreaks; travel and work patterns; and the extent to which health services are provided by neighbouring health boards. Final decisions are based on all of these factors.
Alongside a table setting out the levels, a detailed analysis paper has also been published setting out the Scottish Government’s assessment and overall decision for each local authority.
Ruth Maguire MSP said: “The measures taken are difficult but necessary and I’d like to thank everybody in North Ayrshire for their perseverance with these restrictions as we try to drive down the infection rate of this virus to a sustainable level where we are able to regain more normality.
“Please continue to stick with the guidance and look out for each other as the five tier system comes into effect. It is a tough time but we will get through this.”
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said: “Here in Scotland and across the UK, we have been dealing with the same pattern of COVID-19 resurgence as experienced right around the world. Europe is now firmly in the grip of a second wave and only last night both France and Germany re-imposed nationwide lockdowns.
“In Scotland, we acted early – with some difficult but necessary measures – and while we have no grounds for complacency we do see some encouraging signs – in the last week, cases have increased by 4% whereas two weeks ago the weekly increase was 40%.
“All of that is down to the sacrifices of people the length and breadth of the country, and I thank people for that. But this virus is still highly infectious and it will take every opportunity to spread. If we all dig in and stick with it, this proportionate approach has a real chance of being sustainable and keeping Covid under control over the winter.”
Allocation table, modelling paper and COVID-19 indicators can be found online:
The latest estimate is that while the R number is still above 1, indications are it may have fallen to 1.3.
The five-level strategic framework aims to tackle COVID-19 with measures strong enough to reduce virus prevalence while proportionate to the scale of the problem in different parts of the country – and in a way that minimises, as far as possible, the other harms caused by the pandemic.