South Scotland MSP Colin Smyth has described the decision by the Scottish Government to retain the advice on limiting travel for leisure to five miles over the weekend for residents who live in parts of Dumfries and Galloway as a “sensible measure”.

The announcement was made by the First Minister during her press conference today where she outlined that the advisory restriction on travel distance will be lifted for the rest of Scotland.

The areas covered by the retention of the restriction are those covered by postcodes DG1, DG2, DG11, DG12, DG13, DG14, DG16 namely the Dumfries, Annan, Gretna, Langholm and Lockerbie areas. The guidance continues to allow residents from these areas to travel for non-leisure activities such as work and essential shopping.

The decision is likely to be reviewed on Monday.

The measure comes as the number of confirmed new cases of COVID-19 in Dumfries and Galloway since Monday rose to ten. These are linked to contact with cases in three workplaces, Youngs Seafood Ltd,  Alpha Solway Ltd both in Annan and the Cumberland Hospital in Carlisle.

Colin Smyth said, “This news will be disappointing for many people in Dumfries and Galloway who were looking forward to travelling a little bit further from this weekend. But it seems a sensible measure given the number of cases in our area and the fact that pubs and restaurants in Carlisle are re-opening on Saturday.

“Until we know that the test and trace process has contained this outbreak, then a precautionary approach is needed and hopefully it will be lifted from Monday.

“The big challenge will be enforcement because the travel limit is only advisory and has never been the law. The Government can only appeal to people to follow the guidance and remain vigilant. This virus has not gone away. Not only should we continue to follow the travel restrictions but socially distance by keeping two metres away from others where possible, maintain high levels of hand hygiene and wear face coverings on public transport and in shops. If anyone starts showing symptoms of Covid-19, they should self-isolate immediately and book a test as soon as possible.

“This cluster of cases in our region won’t be the last and both our Governments need to focus on sensible measures to minimise and control those outbreaks rather than bickering over so-called border controls. “

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