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News | 7th January 2021
 

More infectious virus forces new lockdown

Measures close schools and businesses as vaccine is rolled out

 
 
 

ESKDALE and Liddesdale, along with all of mainland Scotland, was plunged into lockdown at midnight on Monday as cases of COVID-19 soared.

The lockdown comes with a new legal requirement forbidding anyone from leaving their home, except for essential purposes.

These include essential shopping, education, childcare or to support the vulnerable. Everyone must now work from home where they can.

Schools are closed for at least the rest of the month, except for children of key workers, where required.

In her statement First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said a steep increase in COVID-19 infections and the intensity of pressure on the NHS had created a race between the virus and the vaccines now coming online.

The number of COVID-19 cases in Langholm and Eskdale in the seven days up to last Saturday totalled 27. (See page 5 for more details).

Police Scotland reported that at about 5.40pm on New Year’s day officers were called to a house party at a property in Eskdaill Street, Langholm.

Six people were offered advice and dispersed. One man, aged 39, was given a fixed penalty notice.

The surge in the number of cases in the region means it has the second-highest case rate in Scotland.

It has been described as “deeply worrying” by South Scotland MSP Colin Smyth.

The total number of cases here since the start of the pandemic stands at 2,337 compared with 1,499 on December 29.

Mr Smyth said: “This sudden surge is deeply worrying and takes us to a place we have not been in since near the start of the pandemic.

“It seems easing restrictions over Christmas and the emergence of the new variant is taking its toll.”

Mr Smyth highlighted the importance of ramping up the vaccination programme and renewed his call to speed up the delivery of support for businesses.

Dismayed

He said: “People will be dismayed and worn down by the latest news and will ask why, a year into the pandemic, we still do not have regular testing for teachers and senior pupils.

“The lack of mass testing for all key workers is one of the catalogue of failures which means people feel we are almost back to square one.

“It’s frustrating that people over 80 still haven’t received letters with details of their vaccination appointment and I know many are anxiously waiting.”

He added: “Government support for firms is still far too slow. It’s not good enough that, weeks after new help was announced for some sectors, applications, never mind payments, haven’t even started for many grants.”

In the week ending January 3 801 new, positive cases were identified in the region, up from 122 the previous week.

Jeff Ace, NHS Dumfries & Galloway chief executive, said: “This is a worrying situation.

“We know, with the trajectory of cases, things are almost certain to get worse before they get better.

“These current figures don’t account for the further rate of increase from increased social interaction on Christmas Day.

“What the current situation means is we all have to limit our interactions because this is how COVID-19 spreads and we know the new variant doesn’t allow any margin of error.” 

On Monday the First Minister said: “It’s no exaggeration to say I’m more concerned about the situation we face now than I have been at any time since March last year.

“The advice of our clinical advisers is very clear. The increased transmissibility of the new variant means the current level 4 measures may not be sufficient to bring the R number back below 1.

“It is essential that we further limit interaction between different households to stem the spread and bring the situation back under control while we vaccinate more people.”

 
 
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