Almost 800 police dispersals on Saturday as Sturgeon warns lockdown breakers
1 June 2020, 16:54
The First Minister was joined by Health Secretary Jeane Freeman and interim chief medical officer Dr Gregor Smith at the daily coronavirus briefing.
Police issued almost 800 dispersal notices on Saturday for lockdown breaches, Nicola Sturgeon revealed, as she warned new laws will be passed if the public continues to contravene the rules.
Speaking during the Scottish Government’s daily briefing, the First Minister said that over the weekend – which saw sunny weather and high temperatures – it was clear that not everyone stuck to the rules.
She said there were 797 dispersals by police, five times higher than the figure from the previous Saturday.
Traffic statistics from the weekend were a “cause for concern”, the First Minister said, with road use on Sunday up by 70% on the previous Sunday and a 60% increase on Saturday from the week before.
Traffic on the A82 near Loch Lomond and on the roads around Glencoe, the First Minister said, was three times higher on Saturday than the previous week.
She added: “Let me be very blunt here – it’s very hard to see how all of that could have been caused by local residents or by people travelling a reasonable distance to meet loved ones.”
She said some of the lockdown guidance could be enshrined in law if the breaches continue.
“It’s worth being clear, in fact I have a duty to be clear with you, that if there is continued evidence of even a minority not abiding by these guidelines and travelling unnecessarily, if people meet up in larger groups or if they’re making journeys which risk spreading this virus, we will have to put these restrictions on group size and travel distance into law,” she said.
“We won’t hesitate to do that if we think it’s necessary for the collective safety and wellbeing of the population.”
She added: “The reason I’m stressing this, the real danger that we still face, is not because I want to be imposing these restrictions, but it is because the progress we’ve made so far in tackling Covid-19 is simply not guaranteed and it is not irreversible.”
The First Minister said cases could still increase, leading to a loss of life and relaxed lockdown measures being reimposed.
The First Minister also gave the latest Covid-19 figures for Scotland.
A total of 2,363 patients have died in Scotland after testing positive for coronavirus, up by one from 2,362 on Sunday, Ms Sturgeon said.
She said 15,418 people have tested positive for the virus in Scotland, up by 18 from 15,400 the day before.
There are 1,046 people in hospital with confirmed or suspected Covid-19, a decrease of 27, and 27 people were in intensive care, no change on the previous day.
The First Minister concluded by saying, for the first time, someone she personally knows contracted the virus over the weekend.
She said: “Why am I telling you that? That is because it’s still there.
“Even with these numbers going down, there are still people being tested positive for this virus.
“It’s ready to pounce, it’s ready to jump across all these bridges that we offer it.”
Without revealing who the person was, she added: “If we want to stop that, we must, must, must stick to these guidelines.”