Scotland needs to make quicker progress in tackling the Covid second wave if people are to meet friends and family at Christmas, an eminent public health expert has warned as it emerged journeys increased during the first week of Nicola Sturgeon’s five-tier lockdown.
Linda Bauld, professor of public health at Edinburgh University, said case numbers were not falling quickly enough and warned it was “difficult” to look ahead to a period where people could meet other households indoors.
She highlighted swathes of the west of Scotland, including Glasgow, where Covid-19 levels remain stubbornly high despite months of restrictions and argued “better progress” was needed if loved ones were to come together during the festive period.
Her warning came as the number of deaths linked to the virus in Scotland surged past 5,000 and transport figures showed journeys increased slightly last week following the introduction of the new five-level system.
Transport Scotland said an increase in walking and cycling during clement weather was to blame for the people undertaking an average of 2.1 trips per day, up from two the previous week.
But car journeys on the country’s major roads only declined marginally despite official travel advice tightening markedly in Level 3 areas, which cover most of the country including the Central Belt.
Previously, Scots were advised to stay within their health board area but this changed last week to much smaller council areas.
Traffic levels on Scotland’s main trunk roads – which cross multiple council areas – declined by only 4.4 per cent compared to the previous week and remained more than twice as high as that recorded in May, during full lockdown.