Professor Jackie Taylor, President of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow
Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has announced that the country will move out of the Levels Systems on 9 August as cases of Covid-19 continue to drop following a spike in June and July due to a combination of factors including the Delta variant.
Addressing MSPs at Scottish Parliament this afternoon, the First Minister confirmed that the majority of restrictions in place during the pandemic will now be dropped, although Scots will still be required to wear masks in enclosed spaces.
The whole of Scotland is currently in level zero of the virus alert system and the First Minister addressed MSPs at a special recalled session at Scottish Parliament.
The revised guidelines announced today will see physical distancing rules relaxed, a gradual return to office working and larger crowds at events.
An update to the way Covid measures operate in schools is included in the First Minister’s statement, with ministers removing self-isolation requirements for pupils.
While the vaccine roll-out has worked wonders in protecting people, the levels of Covid-19 are still above levels seen in the Spring
I agree with the First Minister that Scotland is in a “much better place” than it was at the beginning of July where Covid case numbers in some areas were amongst the highest in Europe. However, our hospitals and primary care services remain under intense pressure with “winter levels” of activity.
As of 30 July, the rolling seven-day average of new infections was at 1,153 – compared with 3,429 on the first day of that month.
The percentage of tests coming back positive has also fallen, along with admissions to hospitals and intensive care wards.
However, all of these figures are still significantly higher than they were in March, April and May, with the Delta variant driving the “third wave” of the virus above any previous peak.
The removal of most of the Covid restrictions means that Scotland is shifting to a new way of dealing with the pandemic, without the need for broader restrictions on everyday life.
We must continue to remain cautious and use common sense in making sensible decisions especially showing concern for the most vulnerable people in our society. We are at a critical stage in the pandemic and while there is cause for optimism, vigilance is definitely required as cases, variants, and hospital admissions will continue to need to be carefully monitored.
We now urgently need to see the Scottish Government’s recovery plans for NHS Scotland and the social care sector. Our members remain hugely concerned about delays in diagnosis of important conditions and delays in operations and treatments which can impact so much on quality of life.