Nicola Sturgeon urged to call in Army to get Glasgow out of lockdown
Nicola Sturgeon was urged on Tuesday to call in the British Army to help get Glasgow out of lockdown amid warnings the city is “at breaking point” over the “unfair” restrictions. SNP ministers have been accused of “inconsistency in messaging and decision-making” over the move to keep Scotland’s largest city under Level 3 restrictions, making it the only place in Great Britain where residents can’t visit each other inside their homes and hospitality businesses can’t serve alcohol indoors. However, Ms Sturgeon signalled on Tuesday that there is reason for “cautious optimism” about the city’s outbreak amid signs that cases are now stabilising. Speaking at a coronavirus press briefing, Ms Sturgeon said that while case numbers are rising, they are still “quite low relative to the situation we experienced in the early part of this year”, adding that this also applied to hospital and intensive admissions. She confirmed that 97 people are in hospital across Scotland with recently confirmed Covid-19, a rise of three compared to Monday. This is still a sharp fall from the more than 2,000 patients in hospital in January. Just six are in intensive care. Warning that “we can’t afford to have perpetual lockdown in Glasgow”, Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar said ministers “should not be afraid” to call in the Armed Forces to help tackle the outbreak seen mostly in the city’s Southside. “In other parts of the UK we have not been afraid to call in the British Armed Forces if necessary to get more capacity on the ground,” he said, adding that the SNP’s efforts to get Glasgow out of lockdown so far have been “timid”. He also demanded that mass testing be carried out in the worst-affected areas on a door-to-door basis if necessary, with pop-up vaccination clinics also being suggested so that those living or working in hotspots could get jabs without having to book an appointment.