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Fears emerge that Fife could be heading into ‘Tier 4’ restrictions for Christmas

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Fifers could be celebrating Christmas under even tighter Covid-19 restrictions, the council’s Labour co-leader has warned.

Councillor David Ross urged the public to follow national guidance to the letter to help prevent the region being moved from Tier 3 to Tier 4 during the festive season.

“The point is to reinforce the message to the public that we need to follow the public health guidance of washing hands, social distancing and masks and that’s the way we will get this back under control and hopefully have a reasonable, as far as possible, Christmas,” said Mr Ross.

The council co-leader said social distancing and hygiene could prevent Fife following the same fate as the 11 areas in west and central Scotland which enter Tier 4 on Friday, meaning the closure of restaurants, cafes, pubs and bars, and all but essential retail.

Meanwhile, he questioned the effectiveness of the Scottish Government’s clamp down on the hospitality sector.

“I personally have a worry that the extra restrictions which are mainly on pubs, restaurants, alcohol, whatever, don’t actually address the reasons for the spread of the virus in Fife.

Fife Council’s labour co-leader David Ross.

“I have to say I worry when you look at the west of Scotland where they had been having Tier 3 and that hasn’t worked.

“I very much hope that Fife doesn’t follow the same trajectory as some of the west of Scotland, where the Tier 3 restrictions don’t work effectively and we have to move into Tier 4, which would be really regrettable.”

Covid tiers: Parts of Scotland at level four as nation nears 5,000 deaths

Fife Council chief executive Steve Grimmond said it was too early to say if the spread of the virus was being brought under control in the region.

“The trend in Fife is fluctuating, maybe beginning to plateau, but I think it’s too early to be able to say that with any certainty.

“In Fife, covid cases have been rising since broadly the middle of September right through October, albeit from a low base, and that rising challenge precipitated a move to level three from November 13, last Friday.

“In Scotland there are signs that the second wave of Covid that we’ve been experiencing is beginning to level off.

“However, that remains at a stubbornly high level in large parts of the central belt.”

Steve Grimmond, Fife Council chief executive.

According to the latest figures, there have been 65 new Covid-19 cases in Fife over the past 24 hours and 551 over the past week, bringing the region’s total number of infections to 3,665.

There has been “significant pressure” on council services, in particular education, environmental health and health and social care as a result of the pandemic, said Mr Grimmond.

He added: “Covid continues to be prevalent in our communities. There are also a number of council employees, the last number was 79, that had a positive covid test and were therefore isolating.”

He said the extension of the furlough scheme would help protect jobs, amid a gradual rise in unemployment in the region. An estimated 6.9% of Fifers are unemployed, with 13,500 currently furloughed.

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