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News | 9th July 2020
 

Restrictions are lifted as outbreak contained

Eskdale residents are now free to travel more than five miles

 
 
Langholm from Whita Hill
 

RESTRICTIONS placed on movement in Langholm and Canonbie last Thursday after a cluster of coronavirus cases have been lifted.

The outbreak centred on Annan and Gretna and meant the five-mile restriction for leisure and recreation stayed in place, while it was lifted in other parts of Scotland.

The Scottish government reviewed the situation after the weekend and announced on Tuesday that the outbreak was contained so travel was no longer restricted to five miles and care home visiting was permitted.

The Test and Protect system was used to identify contacts of the original positive cases and contain the virus.

The cluster involves 12 positive cases and 23 contacts who are isolating.

About 1,500 tests were done over the week and there were no new positives.

The incident management team said there was no continued community transmission from this outbreak.

John Swinney, Deputy First Minister, said he was pleased to confirm the restrictions had been lifted and would like to thank the communities for their forbearance and co-operation.

He added: “We’re confident the outbreak has been contained as a result of residents complying with the restrictions and following our Test and Protect advice to self-isolate if they were a contact of a positive case.

“I would also like to thank partners for their efforts in getting us to this position.”

Jason Leitch, national clinical director, said: “I thank everyone who stuck with the restrictions a bit longer than the rest of the country to stop the spread of the virus, particularly those directly involved.

“We can’t control outbreaks without co-operation and everyone involved has been very helpful.

“They have stopped this cluster from becoming much more widespread and I am grateful to them.

“Our Test and Protect system has proved invaluable to help us contain this outbreak and is vital as we move through the phases of our exit strategy.

“We can learn from this incident and plan for any future clusters.

“It’s important to remember that it’s not an individual’s fault if they contract this illness.

“If anyone develops symptoms, they should stay at home and request a test.”

Councillor Elaine Murray, Dumfries and Galloway Council leader, said she was pleased the restrictions had been lifted.

She thanked the affected communities for following the guidelines for a few days more.

“Through the continued support and compliance of communities we have stopped the spread of the virus,” she added.

Dumfriesshire MP David Mundell and constituency MSP Oliver Mundell also welcomed the lifting of restrictions.

They said: “It’s good news that this outbreak has been contained and the restrictions on travel and visiting care homes can be removed.

“The area can now proceed with easing lockdown along with the rest of Scotland.

“It has been a worrying few day and we want to thank people for their co-operation in observing restrictions and their support for the test and tracing process.

“We particularly thank the test and trace team who worked night and day to help confirm this outcome.”

Liddesdale’s MP and MSP have criticised the protesters who turned up in a layby on the A1 near the border between Scotland and England last weekend.

John Lamont MP said: “I was astonished to see these very ugly scenes. It is such a shame to see such divisive and disgusting language used towards our neighbours in England.

“When our tourism industry is enduring the toughest period in living memory, the last thing Scotland needs is to discourage tourists.

“We should remember that many people in the Borders cross the border every day for work, shopping and to visit friends and family.”

Rachael Hamilton MSP added: “The protests are a sad reflection of the narrow-minded and poisonous nationalism in Scotland.

“Scotland is a tolerant and welcoming country and these actions are hostile and xenophobic.

“Tourism is the backbone of many rural areas and many businesses are reopening on July 15.

Tourists from England spend about £1.7bn annually in Scotland in hotels, restaurants and attractions.”

South Scotland MSP Colin Smyth said: “This is further proof that this terrible virus is still out there and it’s important that people remain vigilant.

“This means social distancing by keeping two metres away from others where possible, maintaining high levels of hand hygiene and wearing face coverings on public transport or in enclosed spaces.

“We are not out of the woods yet and it’s only by adhering to guidelines that we can ensure new cases are kept to a minimum.”

 
 
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