PARTS of Scotland may remain under tougher coronavirus restrictions next week, the Health Secretary has warned, despite plans to relax the rules.

It came as experts urged the UK Government to delay its bid to scrap all Covid measures in England on June 21.

Areas currently in Level Two in Scotland are scheduled to move down to Level One next Monday. 

Glasgow is the only part of Scotland still under Level Three restrictions. 

However, Health Secretary Humza Yousaf said other areas are also giving “cause for concern”.

He told the BBC’s Good Morning Scotland programme: “It may not be the entire country moving to Level One.

“I think people would understand where there are still rising case numbers, where there is rising test positivity... it may be the case that parts of the country move to Level One but actually other parts of the country we decide to keep in Level Two.”

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Asked if he was referring to Glasgow, Mr Yousaf said: “Glasgow – but also, I must be quite frank, there are other parts of the country that clearly from the data give us continued cause for concern.”

Renfrewshire and East Renfrewshire both currently have high case rates.

The Scottish Conservatives insisted Scotland should move to Level One from June 7 and argued leaving behind whole areas “should be ruled out”.

Last week, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said it would be “premature” to move Glasgow out of Level Three “while the situation remains so fragile”.

She indicated the city could move to Level Two from the end of this week. Ms Sturgeon will provide a Covid update in Holyrood this afternoon, when she is expected to announce which areas will move to Level One. 

This would allow greater numbers of people to socialise indoors and outdoors, among other measures. Some islands are already at this stage.

Scottish Tory leader Douglas Ross said: “The success of Scotland and the UK’s vaccine scheme means we can now be far more positive about easing restrictions.

"Everyone understands that there will be a need for local, targeted measures when an outbreak occurs.

“But leaving behind whole areas should be ruled out. Sweeping measures that unnecessarily hurt a whole city or council area are unfair on businesses and local people waiting to get on with their lives.

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“Selectively imposing restrictions and targeting resources at smaller areas is entirely possible. The blanket council-wide approach is not the only plausible option.
“The one-size-fits-all approach should be replaced by targeted interventions to tackle local outbreaks.”

Meanwhile, It came as an adviser to the UK Government suggested the vaccination programme is offering a “false sense of security”.

Professor Ravi Gupta, a member of the New and Emerging Respiratory Virus Threats Advisory Group (Nervtag), said that with the UK in the grip of an “early” third wave of Covid-19 infections, UK Government ministers should consider pushing back their June 21 target “by a few weeks”.

The University of Cambridge academic said that there had been an “exponential growth” in the number of cases, fuelled by the more transmissible Indian variant, but that the “explosive” impact it could have was currently being masked by the high vaccination rate.

A total of 3,251,138 Scots have now received the first dose of a Covid-19 vaccine and 2,044,253 have received their second dose.

Prof Gupta told Radio 4’s Today: “It will probably take longer than earlier waves to emerge because of the fact that we do have quite high levels of vaccination in the population, so there may be a false sense of security for some time, and that’s our concern.

“I think the problem is we are not too far from reaching the sort of levels of vaccination that would help us contain the virus and I think that people are not saying we should abandon the June 21 date altogether but just to delay it by a few weeks while we gather more intelligence and we can look at the trajectory in a clearer way.

“If you look at the costs and benefits of getting it wrong, I think it is heavily in favour of delay.”

Cabinet minister George Eustice said the UK Government wanted to monitor the data before making a final decision on whether to go ahead with its June 21 plans to abolish social distancing and limits on socialising.

Pressed on whether businesses should prepare for a delay, he replied: “I’ve said all along, as has Matt Hancock and the Prime Minister, we can’t rule anything out because we know this has been a difficult pandemic, a dynamic situation.”

”We have to make that judgment a couple of weeks before. It will only be then that we will see the full impact of the easements made on May 17... everyone wants to know what’s going to happen but we can’t make that judgment until we see the impact.”

“So when you’ve got those volumes of patients, even small numbers of Covid-19 patients clearly add to the pressure.”

Yesterday’s figures showed Scotland recorded one coronavirus death and 490 cases in the previous 24 hours. The daily test positivity rate was 4.2%, up from 3.2% the previous day.