Sky

It is a “source of concern” that the number of journeys in Scotland are on the rise, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has said.

Speaking at the Scottish government’s daily coronavirus news conference, Ms Sturgeon said that while there had been “very real” progress in the fight against the virus, it is “too fragile for us to let up”.

The first minister warned that next week may be too early to lift any of the lockdown restrictions designed to halt the spread of COVID-19.

Nicola Sturgeon

A further 60 people have died after testing positive for the coronavirus in Scotland, meaning the total now stands at 1,475.

Ms Sturgeon said the public had been “superb” at sticking to the lockdown restrictions, but there was evidence of people being “a little more active” than they had been at the start.

It comes after figures showed traffic levels on UK roads on Monday were at the highest level since the restrictions were introduced last month.

The first minister said that while the increases in people on the roads and using public transport were from a low starting point, they were still a “source of concern”.

She added: “The point I am making today is not an easy one, but it is an essential one.

“The progress we have made is real and it is significant, but it is still very fragile.

“The margins we have for ensuring the virus doesn’t take off again are really, really tight. That means we must be very cautious at this stage.”

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Ms Sturgeon said the number of people using concessionary transport went up by almost a sixth last week.

And she added that while the amount of traffic on the roads had been less than a third of pre-lockdown levels, it had increased this week by about 5%.

“In some of our town and city roads traffic has been 10% higher than in the week before,” the first minister said.

Ms Sturgeon said such journeys added up and cautioned against people “easing off”.

“You might think it is only you making an extra journey, and it is only one trip. And you might feel you deserve it after weeks of restraint. Believe me, I really understand all of that,” she said.

“But all of it adds up. And if everybody starts easing off, the virus will quickly take off again and it will have devastating consequences for all of us.”

The first minister continued: “I know people want to travel a bit more, I know children want to spend more time outside, I absolutely know that every grandparent watching this is desperate to see and to hug their grandchildren.

“But, as things stand, our progress against the virus, albeit very real progress, is too fragile for us to let up.”

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Addressing the UK-wide picture, Public Health England medical director Dr Yvonne Doyle has described the rise in traffic levels as “slightly worrying”.

The latest data shows that the number of vehicles was 56% lower than in early February, but up three percentage points compared with the previous Monday.

Train and bus use remains flat, at more than 95% below the first week of February.

“There has been an uptick in motor vehicles, and the message here really is that we are still passing through this peak,” Dr Doyle said.

“This use of motor vehicles is the highest working day use since 23 March.

“We really have to be vigilant. Most people are making huge efforts to stay at home and save lives.

“This is slightly worrying, so please do stay at home, protect the NHS, save lives. Go out for the necessities.”

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