Tightened lockdown rules could work, suggesting official data showing Glasgow's surge in coronavirus cases was controlled within days of new restrictions emerging.
The residents of the city, which is home to around 600,000 people, and two neighboring areas were banned from visiting other households at the beginning of September in order to contain the spread of Covid-19.
The decision, announced by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, was sparked by figures showing that Glasgow's spiral eruption was responsible for nearly a third of the new cases in Scotland.
Around 37 people tested positive for the life-threatening infection every day on September 2, the day the restrictions went into effect.
That had increased six-fold since mid-August, when an average of six people were diagnosed per day, and was massively above the moving average of just one infection per day in July.
However, government statistics show the city's infection curve flattened just five days after the measures were put in place. The moving average hit 52 on September 7 and has barely risen since then.
Glasgow's seven-day moving average of Covid-19 cases (blue line) has flattened since residents were banned from visiting other households on September 2
A similar pattern was shown in West Dunbartonshire
In East Renfrewshire, cases continued to rise (blue line) after restrictions were imposed on September 2. However, since then the cases have decreased again
Figures from Public Health Scotland, the country's health department, which updates Covid-19 data daily, show a slight increase in some cases over the past few days. The moving average was 64 on September 20th.
More recent data is not yet available as it is based on when samples were taken rather than how many were actually recorded on a given day. It can take several days for patients to regain their results.
This increase over the past two weeks is in line with the rest of the UK, which blamed children and adults for returning to school and work and now appears to be on the decline again.
Sir Harry Burns, professor of global public health at the University of Strathclyde, said data shows lockdown measures are working in western Scotland.
For this reason, he supported Ms. Sturgeon's decision to impose a general ban on social mixing in households from today.
And it is alleged that Professor Chris Whitty, England's chief medical officer, firmly believes that England needs its own ban on home visits.
Around 1.7 million Scots are currently subject to stricter local restrictions – almost a third (31 percent) of the country's 5.4 million residents.
Aberdeen, home to 208,000, had previously been under strict lockdown from August 5th to 23rd, including pubs and restaurants closings, a household mixing ban and a five-mile travel restriction.
Covid-19 cases (blue line) have fallen in East Dunbartonshire since restrictions were put in place on September 7th (picture)
In Renfrewshire, Covid-19 cases have stalled (blue line) since restrictions were put in place on September 7th (picture)
South Lanarkshire is gradually showing improvements in Covid-19 cases (blue line) after it was added to the list of places in Scotland hit with tougher measures on September 12 (picture).
In North Lanarkshire, cases have decreased slightly (blue line) before rising again after a lockdown was imposed on September 12 (picture).
Glasgow, West Dunbartonshire and East Renfrewshire were hit with new Covid-19 control measures on September 3rd.
It should take two weeks but the Scottish government has not lifted it yet.
Restrictions on visiting other households have been applied because "the transmission appears to be primarily in people's homes and between households rather than in pubs and restaurants," Ms. Sturgeon said.
The daily average of cases in Glasgow at the time was 36.6. Cases continued to be diagnosed, averaging 52 cases five days after the measures were announced.
But then, a week after the restrictions were in place, cases flattened to 44.6, suggesting the spike had stopped in their tracks.
A similar pattern has been shown in West Dunbartonshire, where 89,000 people live.
The average rose from seven on September 2 to nine on September 6, before flattening out between five and seven cases per day.
It appears that both Glasgow and West Dunbartonshire saw sudden spikes in cases again in mid-September. However, data from the past two to three days shows that this may be fixed.
In East Renfrewshire, around four people tested positive for the coronavirus every day when the area was placed under "local lockdown".
This rose sharply, doubling to eight by September 11th. Since then, the cases have dropped to four a day.
Although it's at the same level as when the measures were imposed, the data shows that the outcome is still better than what could have been if the virus had spread further.
On September 7th, Mrs Sturgeon "regrettably" extended the measures to East Dunbartonshire and Renfrewshire, which are home to around 286,000 people.
Both have noted a significant stalemate in the spiraling Covid-19 cases.
South Lanarkshire is showing initial improvements after being added to the list of places in Scotland hit with tougher measures on September 12th. However, North Lanarkshire falls are still climbing.
Ms. Sturgeon has now taken the Covid-19 response in Scotland one step further and once again proven to be more cautious than neighboring England.
With a few exceptions, Scots will not officially be allowed to visit other people in their own home from Friday. But people are encouraged to stick to it starting today. Ms. Sturgeon also confirmed that Scotland would follow England by imposing a 10pm curfew on pubs and restaurants.
It was part of a package of measures to try to prevent the coronavirus from spiraling out of control in Scotland.
Sir Harry told BBC Scotland's The Nine: “I can understand the reasons for the decisions the First Minister made.
“This is essentially because the data on the progress of the partial lockdown in the west of Scotland shows that it was effective and therefore it extends to the rest of Scotland.
“I don't think we can do this too soon, to be honest. I think we were a little late when we got banned for the first time and that could be why we had such a big impact. But I think we're seeing increasing cases every day.
Initially, most of the cases were in the 20 to 40 year olds. In the 1960s and over, cases increased and hospital admissions increased.
I think if we do not go now we will again see significant numbers of hospitalizations, significant stress on the hospital system, and significant number of deaths. & # 39;
Ms. Sturgeon accepted the "tough" new restrictions, which felt like a "step backwards", but they were not put in place lightly.
She also defended her decision to introduce stricter coronavirus restrictions than the UK.
The Scottish First Minister insisted that the expert advice was that a pub curfew alone, as is the case in England, would not be enough to stem the rise in the number of cases.
She refused to directly criticize UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson for failing to take steps to prevent indoor households from mixing as she did.
However, she said she believed governments should "try to coordinate as much as possible across the UK."
Speaking about ITV's Good Morning Britain program, she said Scotland and the UK are in "a difficult position".
Ms. Sturgeon warned that “we are at a tipping point again with Covid”, adding: “If we do not act urgently and decisively now, Covid could get out of hand again.
“The judgment I have made, which is not an easy one, is that if we take tough action now, we might actually be able to be under these restrictions for a shorter period of time than if we delayed them.
"So these are tough judgments, but I think, given the death we know Covid can cause, and the damage to health it causes, we need to be prepared, people like me, to make tough decisions in moments like this meet and be ready to do things, even if they are unpopular, for the common good.
“I can only look at the situation in Scotland and speak for the judgments I make.
“And my advisors say to me: yes, a pub curfew is certainly something that should be done and we have made that decision, but in and of itself it will not be enough to stop this increase in Covid cases and get them to bring down R number and bring the epidemic back under control.
"That is why I made the difficult judgment yesterday to go further."
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