THE Borders should be moved into Level 1 of coronavirus lockdown restrictions, according to Scottish Borders Council leader Shona Haslam – who says she will speak to John Swinney next week.

The region has been in Level 2 of the Scottish Government’s five-level system since it was introduced on Monday, November 2.

However, Mrs Haslam says she will be meeting the Deputy First Minister on Monday “to press for the Scottish Borders to move to Level 1 as soon as possible”.

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“Our numbers have now been in Level 1 for over a week and heading in the right direction,” Mrs Haslam said.

“This is testament to the hard work of the people of the Borders who have stuck to the rules and got our numbers down.

“Moving into Level 1 in the run up to Christmas will make a huge difference to our hospitality industry and it is important that we balance the economic impact with the public health impact.

“With travel restrictions in place the issue of neighbouring areas being higher than us is not so concerning.

“Our numbers are low and decreasing and the Scottish Government should abide by their own rules and indicators and move us into Level 1 as soon as possible.”

Since the initial announcement that the Borders would be in Level 2, Mrs Haslam has expressed her disappointment in the region's position.

Last month, the Scottish Government accused her of making an "untrue" claim when she said Mr Swinney had cancelled a meeting with her about the Borders' lockdown rules.

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At the moment, cases per 100,000 in the region are down to 36, with a test positivity rate at 2.1 per cent, which the council says should place the Borders in Level 1.

After the latest review of the multi-tier structure on Tuesday, the Scottish Government said about the Borders: “If positive trends continue a move to Level 1 should be considered, however proximity to areas with higher prevalence will need to be considered.”

In Moray - a Level 1 area on the mainland - restaurants, cafes, pubs and bars can be open indoors and outdoors for the consumption of food and alcoholic drinks in line with licensing rules.

Hospitality premises still have a 10.30pm curfew.

UPDATE: The penultimate sentence in this article was changed at 9.50am on December 7 to show Level 1 rules in a mainland area.