Nicola Sturgeon has confirmed that strict coronavirus restrictions are to remain in place in Glasgow for another week.

Speaking during a lunchtime Covid briefing in Edinburgh, the First Minister confirmed that case numbers in the city are “uncomfortably” high, but there are signs both positive tests and the rate of people in hospital with the virus are stabilising.

She also outlined plans to announce further easing of restrictions across the rest of the country.

Here, we outline the key points from her briefing.

Glasgow to remain in Level 3

Glasgow will remain in under strict Covid restrictions as the First Minister said it would be 'premature' to move out of the current level immediately.

She said a decision would be made by Wednesday at the latest on whether the city can move to Level 2 next Saturday.

She said: “The view of the national incident management team is two-fold. Firstly, that it would be premature to move Glasgow out of Level 3 immediately this week while the situation remains so fragile.

The Herald: Shoppers on Buchanan Street, Glasgow today, Monday 26th April. Shops, cafes, pubs, hospitality venues, gyms and museums opened today due to the easing of lockdown restrictions.

  Photograph by Colin Mearns
26 April 2021

“However, and secondly, if incidence continues to stabilise and assuming levels of hospitalisation remain reasonably stable, the incident management team has made clear to me that they would support a move to Level 2 from the end of next week.”

She added: “My message to the people of Glasgow is don’t lose heart. On the contrary, take heart from the progress that we are seeing.

“I live in Glasgow so I know how hard this is from my own personal life, but please continue to help with all of the public health efforts that are in place because if we continue to do this then we will make that move down from Level 3 to Level 2, and then after that hopefully get back on track and down the levels further.”

Easing in rest of country

Ms Sturgeon also said that she will confirm on Tuesday if the country as a whole can move to Level 1 as planned on June 7.

Under these restrictions, up to six people from three households will be able to socialise indoors, and eight people from three households can meet up in hospitality venues like pubs and restaurants.

Indoor hospitality will also be able to operate until 11pm for both food and alcohol.

Rising case numbers

The latest figures for Scotland show two coronavirus deaths and 641 cases in the past 24 hours.

It means the death toll under this daily measure – of people who first tested positive for the virus within the previous 28 days – stands at 7,668

Of the new cases, 234 were in Greater Glasgow and Clyde, 132 in Lothian and 104 in Lanarkshire.

Case numbers, Ms Sturgeon said, are on the rise in Scotland, with Friday’s increase the highest since March 25 and the R number in Scotland potentially rising as high as 1.3.

She said: “A key factor behind the increases… is that the new April-02 (Indian) variant, which we think is more transmissible than most other types of the virus, probably now accounts for 50% or even more of our daily cases.

“The increase in cases so far does seem to be concentrated in younger age groups and this may indicate that vaccination is having a protective effect for older people, which of course we want to see.”

New one-shot vaccine

A new one-shot coronavirus vaccine has been approved for use in the UKI.

Approval of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine was announced as the First Minister gave her coronavirus briefing on Friday.

The jab is expected to be available in the UK towards the end of this year.

The Herald: A Covid vaccine being administered at the Hydro in Glasgow. There has been concern at the recent number of no-shows

The First Minister said: “It’s really good news, any new vaccine, if it’s approved, manufactured and then we get supplies of it, is great.

“But we’re focused right now on the supplies we actually have and getting them into people’s arms as quickly as possible.”

National clinical director Professor Jason Leitch said “the more vaccines the better”, adding that the Valneva jab is now in phase-three trials which are progressing well.