The First Minister has announced this afternoon that the Scottish Borders will move from Level 2 to Level 1 of the multi-tier system from 6pm on Friday.

Over the past week there have been 47 positive cases of Covid-19 recorded, with 9 patients being cared for within the Borders General Hospital with either a confirmed positive case of Covid-19 or who are suspected to have the virus.

Leader of Scottish Borders Council, Councillor Shona Haslam, said: “We absolutely welcome the decision to move the Scottish Borders into Level 1 of the multi-tier system. This has been made possible due to the efforts of people in the Borders, who’ve followed all the relevant guidance and continued to act responsibly to protect themselves and others from the virus. While this is a hugely positive step for everyone, we must continue to follow the FACTS guidance and not lose a grip on the position we have all worked hard to get to. I would also urge everyone to bear in mind the restrictions that remain in place around travel. You should not be travelling into areas that are in levels 3 or 4 although you are able to travel to, and stay in, fellow Level 1 areas including Dumfries and Galloway.”

Director of Public Health, Dr Tim Patterson, said: “The decrease in confirmed cases over the past few weeks is encouraging. This has been part of the reason we have been able to move to Level 1, alongside a falling test positivity rate and a lessening of the potential impact on NHS services. The loosening of restrictions is good news because it means that we can meet up with more people, and this is particularly good for those who are feeling isolated. However, moving to Level 1 does also present risks so if we want to remain in Level 1, now more than ever it is vital that we don’t ease up and lose sight of the measures put in place to protect everyone.

“Opening up social settings more, especially around the Christmas period, increases the risk of infection. The virus doesn’t know it is Christmas. It’s just a virus and it thrives on human contact. So please be extremely cautious as we approach the holidays. Familiarise yourself with the restrictions that apply and continue to follow the FACTS guidance: Face coverings; Avoid crowded place; Clean hands and surfaces regularly; Two metre distance; and Self isolate and book a test immediately if you have any symptoms.”