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Coronavirus cluster ‘under control’ as local lockdown restrictions lifted

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon made the announcement about Dumfries and Galloway at her daily briefing in Edinburgh.

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A total of 2,489 patients have died in Scotland after testing positive for the virus, up one from 2,488 on Monday (Jane Barlow/PA)

A total of 2,489 patients have died in Scotland after testing positive for the virus, up one from 2,488 on Monday (Jane Barlow/PA)

A total of 2,489 patients have died in Scotland after testing positive for the virus, up one from 2,488 on Monday (Jane Barlow/PA)

Travel restrictions have been lifted in Dumfries and Galloway after a coronavirus outbreak was brought under control, according to First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.

Speaking during her daily briefing in Edinburgh, she said all chains of infection in the area have been identified and controlled.

Restrictions lifted elsewhere in the country were retained in parts of the region on Friday after a cluster of Covid-19 cases was discovered, with 12 people infected.

Ms Sturgeon said no new cases in the cluster emerged on Monday.

The limited travel distance guidance in Annan and Gretna – restricting people to going no farther than five miles from their homes – will now be lifted to match the rest of the country, as well as allowing those in the area to visit care homes.

The First Minster thanked those affected by coronavirus in the area for their co-operation, including employers and the 23 contacts who were traced by officials for self-isolating, saying she is “very grateful” to all those involved.

Giving the latest Covid-19 figures, Ms Sturgeon said 2,489 patients have died in Scotland after testing positive for the virus, up one from Monday.

A total of 18,302 people have tested positive for coronavirus in Scotland, up two.

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First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said severe restrictions cannot continue indefinitely (Jeff J Mitchell/PA)

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said severe restrictions cannot continue indefinitely (Jeff J Mitchell/PA)

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First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said severe restrictions cannot continue indefinitely (Jeff J Mitchell/PA)

The First Minister said she hopes Scotland will be able to continue its emergence from lockdown later this week following the three-weekly review of the measures.

She said: “We cannot, and this is a statement of the obvious, go on indefinitely with severe restrictions on our economy and on our way of life.

“That’s why I hope we will be able to confirm on Thursday that we are moving to phase three of our route out of lockdown.

“However, it is also why we are and must continue to be determined to ensure that our emergence from lockdown is both safe and sustainable.”

She pointed to a number of areas where lockdown measures have been reimposed by Governments in Australia, Spain and Serbia.

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Chancellor Rishi Sunak will announce the UK programme for recovery (Aaron Chown/PA)

Chancellor Rishi Sunak will announce the UK programme for recovery (Aaron Chown/PA)

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Chancellor Rishi Sunak will announce the UK programme for recovery (Aaron Chown/PA)

The First Minister also addressed the financial statement to be made on Wednesday by Chancellor Rishi Sunak.

Ms Sturgeon reiterated the Scottish Government position, including calling for an £80 billion recovery package – which would be in line with a similar package in Germany – a jobs guarantee and more powers for the Scottish Parliament on borrowing and other financial matters.

She said: “We believe that the UK’s programme should tackle inequality, support jobs and have a strong focus on investment in low carbon and digital infrastructure.

“It’s worth stressing again that the Scottish Government has on several occasions welcomed policies adopted by the Treasury during this pandemic – for example, the job retention scheme and this week’s support for the culture sector.

“We hope that we will be able to give a welcome to tomorrow’s statement as well but for that to happen the scale of the policies put forward must meet the scale of the economic challenges that the UK faces and I very much hope that they will do.”

The First Minister said proposals from the Scottish Government were put forward “on a constructive basis” and are “ambitious, practical and sustainable”.

PA