The First Minister has announced that all of Ayrshire will stay in level two of the government's coronavirus restrictions.

Nicola Sturgeon was speaking at a COVID briefing in Holyrood this afternoon where she said "we must err on the side of caution" and she described the delay in progress as "a pause, not a step backwards."

She was expected to announce that the entire country was moving down to level one, but rising case numbers in East, North, and South Ayrshire, as well as in a number of other council areas have led the government to believe it is too soon for further relaxation in these locations.

Case numbers across Ayrshire have been rising, with the seven day rate per 100,000 of population being above 50 in all three Ayrshire council areas, which the government had set out as the threshold for level two. 

As per the framework issued by the government earlier this year, the current seven day case rate per 100,000 should see us in level three.

However, on Monday the new Health Secretary Humza Yousaf said they'd be looking at different metrics, such as total case numbers and hospitalisations, to decide what level a council area should be in.

Sturgeon reiterated this, saying: “Our judgment - based on the emerging evidence of the impact of vaccines on hospitalisation, and our assessment of local factors and public health interventions - is that level 3 would not be proportionate at this stage.

“However, it’s also our judgement that with case numbers as high as they are in these areas and with a substantial proportion of adults not yet double dosed, it’s safer, and more likely to protect our progress, if we hold these areas in level 2.”