by Local Democracy Reporter Marie Sharp
National Clinical Director, Jason Leitch, gave his view on why there has been a surge in East Lothian Covid-19 cases, leading to a return to Level 3 restrictions in the council area.
Speaking at The Scottish Government daily briefing today, Professor Leitch acknowledged that the rise in cases in the county was taking place “on the border with Edinburgh”.
Coronavirus cases in the east and centre of East Lothian have been very low compared to cases in the Musselburgh, Prestonpans and Tranent areas in the west.
But any attempt to somehow split East Lothian into two, in terms of the Covid-19 protection levels, would simply be “more trouble than we would know how to manage”.
Mr Leitch’s comments come as East Lothian moves back into Level 3 restrictions on Friday at 6.00pm. This limits hospitality and other businesses.
The most up to date figures for East Lothian showed a rate of 144.7 cases per 100,000 people in the week up to 14 December, with the vast majority of cases in the west of the county.
Mr Leitch was asked why he thought the cases in the county were concentrated in one general area.
He replied: “Much of the positive cases are on the border with Edinburgh city and as you move further east the cases reduce.
“That is, of course, to do with mixing around local authorities, it is to do with travel, to do with commuting, it is to do with where people shop, where people go for childcare, where people go for hospitality.”
Mr Leitch suggested it would not be practical to have different Covid protection levels in different parts of the same local authority.
He added: “People see us making nuanced decisions with some of the islands. I think to go further down that route would give us more trouble than we would be able to manage.”