THE First Minister says an announcement could be made soon on moving Helensburgh, and the whole of Argyll and Bute, into Level 1 coronavirus restrictions.

Nicola Sturgeon told MSPs on Tuesday that with the exception of East Lothian, which moved from Level 3 to Level 2 this morning, no further changes are being proposed by the Scottish Government to the restrictions currently in place across Scotland.

But in two areas – Argyll and Bute, and Dumfries and Galloway – she said the prevalence of the virus is continuing to fall or to stabilise at low levels.

“If this progress is maintained,” she said, “we will take a view in the coming weeks as to whether they should move to Level 1, and we are hopeful that this will be possible.”

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Argyll and Bute has been under Level 2 restrictions since the government’s coronavirus protection level scale came into effect on Monday, November 2.

But neighbouring West Dunbartonshire, and all other council areas which have been under Level 4 restrictions since 6pm on Friday, will remain at that level for the time being.

According to the latest government statistics, there were 26 positive cases in Argyll and Bute during the seven days to November 21 – a rate of 30.3 cases per 100,000 of population.

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Across Scotland, Ms Sturgeon said, the latest data shows that the restrictions which have been in place since 6pm on Friday are beginning to have an impact – but she also said the national numbers masked regional variations.

“We now have grounds for cautious optimism that numbers may be declining,” she said.

In the past 24 hours, 41 deaths have been registered of patients who first tested positive for Covid-19, taking the total number of deaths in Scotland under that measurement to 3,544.

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