Ruth Maguire MSP has welcomed the updated coronavirus restriction levels which sees all three council areas in Ayrshire now sitting at Level 3.

As of Friday 11th December, North Ayrshire will be joined by East and South Ayrshire which are among the 11 local authority areas which will move from Level 4 following improvement in the number of new cases of the virus across the country.

The SNP MSP for Cunninghame South said: “North Ayrshire remaining at Level 3 is a testament to the efforts shown by everybody in the area to stick to the public health guidelines put in place to keep everybody safe.

“The commitment from residents during this time has been incredible and I’m grateful to everyone who has persevered so far.

“Please continue to bear in mind the travel restrictions between council areas except for essential purposes to continue to minimise the risk of transmission in our communities.”

Overall, half of all Scotland’s local authorities will move down a level this coming Friday.

Announcing the new levels, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said: “The fall in infection rates in these areas – the most highly populated in the country – have contributed to an improvement in the situation across Scotland as a whole. All of this puts us in a much better position to cope with the inevitable difficulties of winter.

“However, it does not remove the need for a cautious approach. The risks and challenges of the next few months are clear.

“That is why, in reaching decisions today, we have had to consider the potential overall impact of moving to a lower level of restrictions at the same time as the Christmas period begins in earnest.”