Travel in and out of Scotland during the relaxed restriction period in the summer caused a surge in infection, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon says.
Evidence published by the scientific advisory group for emergencies (Sage) showed the initial strain of Covid-19 found in Scotland had almost been eliminated by the end of the first lockdown period, clinical director Jason Leitch added.
He said Covid-19 infections in the second wave were caused by new strains introduced to Scotland from other parts of the UK or aboard.
Professor Leitch said this is a “cautionary tale” to people considering travelling over the Christmas period and encouraged people to “stay local” over Christmas.
Both advised against booking holidays outside of Scotland next summer, but Prof Leitch called the vaccine roll-out “the genuine beginning of the new normal”.
Ms Sturgeon said there are contingency plans for vaccines and medicines when asked what measures are being put in place ahead of a potential no-deal Brexit on January 1.
She added: “We look on these as a Scottish Government and also as part of the four-nations arrangement, to secure supplies.
“But there is no doubt at all things will be much more difficult (with medicine supply) if there is not a deal agreed before the end of the year.”
Calls for airport testing
Scottish Labour transport spokesperson Colin Smyth repeated calls for testing at the country’s airports.
He said: “We have consistently called for a robust regime of testing at Scotland’s airports.
“The SNP has previously voted against a Scottish Labour motion to bring forward options for airport testing and follow-up tests for coronavirus, and now Nicola Sturgeon says ‘we should have been much, much tougher on travel restrictions earlier on in the year’.
“It is too little, too late.
“Only last month the Health and Sport committee said there was a high risk of infection being brought to Scotland from travellers arriving here carrying the virus.
“The committee backed Labour’s view that airport testing is an important health protection measure, but these warnings have sadly fallen on deaf ears.
“We are reaching a crucial stage of managing the pandemic, and the SNP government can ill afford yet another serious lapse in judgement.”
Of Wednesday’s 39 coronavirus deaths in Scotland, two were registered in Angus, two in Fife and two in Perth and Kinross.
In Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire, there were three and six new deaths recorded, respectively, while Highland, Moray, Western Isles, Orkney and Shetland recorded no deaths in the previous 24 hours.
The First Minister said a new report on coronavirus outbreaks among students shows that between the start of August and the end of November there were almost 3,000 cases linked to “student postcodes” – covering halls of residence or other student accommodation.
Almost two thirds of the cases occurred in a three-week period between late September and early October, Ms Sturgeon added.
She said more than three quarters of the cases were found in Edinburgh and Glasgow – with about a quarter in students living in the Pollock Halls of Residence at Edinburgh University and the Glasgow University’s Murano Halls.
Return to campuses for all of Scotland’s universities will be staggered in the New Year.
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