Scotland Delays Lifting Virus Restrictions as Cases Increase

Scotland postponed the lifting of more coronavirus restrictions because of a jump in cases, and First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said it’s vital the country ensures infections don’t get ahead of vaccinations.

The government in Edinburgh will now look at easing them on July 19, in line with the U.K. government’s revised timetable, to allow more people to get shots. Scotland recorded a 40% increase in cases over the past week.

“Today’s total of new positive tests is the largest we’ve seen since the peak in January,” Sturgeon told the Scottish Parliament on Tuesday. “These numbers still shock.” By July 18, though, all adults will have had at least one dose of the vaccine, she said.

U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson said this week that data suggests England is on course to lift restrictions next month after last week announcing a four-week delay because of the prevalence of the delta variant.

The Scottish National Party administration, which is responsible for health matters in Scotland, had planned to implement revised rules on social distancing and for hospitality on June 28, a week later than England’s original target for a full reopening of the economy.

Sturgeon drew anger from Manchester’s mayor at the weekend after announcing a ban on travel to and from the northern English city amid a spike in infections. In the Scottish Parliament on Tuesday, opposition lawmakers criticized the decision and said it wasn’t enforceable.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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