Moray likely to stay in Level 3 due to ‘widespread’ community transmission

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Moray is likely to stay under Level 3 restrictions due to “widespread community transmission” of coronavirus in the area, Nicola Sturgeon has said.

With a formal decision due at the end of the week, it is “highly probable” Moray will remain under tighter rules as the rest of mainland Scotland eases restrictions on May 17.

NHS Grampian identified a surge in cases starting in April, and there has been a smaller increase in hospital admissions.

A number of measures have already been put in place to combat the surge, including increased testing and accelerating vaccination offers to those aged 19 to 39.

Coronavirus – Sun May 10, 2020
The First Minister said travel into Moray would have to be limited (Scottish Government)

She said: “Public health experts consider that Moray is currently experiencing widespread community transmission of the virus.

“It is therefore highly probably, though a final decision will be taken at the end of this week, that Moray will remain in Level 3 for a further period, though I hope it will be a relatively short one.”

She added: “This will mean that travel in and out of Moray will be limited to permitted purposes only.

“The situation in Moray, together with the emergence of new variants globally, should be a sharp reminder to all of us that the virus remains a real threat.”

The towns of Elgin and Keith are particular hotspots, he said, but there does not appear to be a spread into neighbouring local authorities such as the Highlands and Aberdeenshire.

Genome sequencing indicates the Moray outbreak consists of the B117 strain of Covid-19, the variant which first emerged in Kent and is now dominant in the UK.

Infections had turned up in a number settings including schools, workplaces and particularly large shops, Dr Smith said.

The demographic of those testing positive was slightly younger than overall, he said, adding: “We’ve had, unfortunately, some hospital admissions for older age groups as a consequence of this outbreak as well.”

National clinical director Jason Leitch said the outbreak appeared to have slowed in recent days but officials were still monitoring the situation.

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