CORONAVIRUS is still “present, dangerous and even more infectious”, warns a director at NHS Borders.

The message comes as Scotland prepares to relax coronavirus lockdown restrictions, with the 'stay at home' law set to be replaced by 'stay local' guidance from Friday (April 2).

This means that travel within the Borders will be allowed for the region’s residents, even for non-essential purposes.

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More loosening of restrictions is to come in on Monday (April 5), with changes including the reopening of hairdressers, garden centres and non-essential click and collect services.

NHS Borders’ associate director of public health, Keith Allan, said: “Friday is the first step towards what will hopefully be a brighter summer, however it is important to remember that the route back to normality remains dependent on suppressing COVID-19.

“Although it is encouraging news that case numbers remain low in the Borders, the virus is still present, dangerous and even more infectious than it was previously.

“Our journey out of lockdown must be a careful and cautious one.

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“So we are asking the people of the Borders to remain patient and stick with the rules in order to continue protecting each other and our local health and social care services.

“Please do not be tempted to bend the rules or travel into other local authority areas, unless it is for permitted and essential purposes.

“This includes travel across the border into England. And when you are out and about, even if you have received one or both doses of the COVID-19 vaccination, remember the FACTS advice.”

The FACTS advice is:

  • Face coverings in enclosed spaces
  • Avoid crowded places
  • Clean hands and surfaces regularly
  • Two-metre distancing
  • Self-isolate and book a test if you have symptoms