THE planned easing of coronavirus restrictions in Glasgow on Monday has been delayed amid concern over a rise in cases, the First Minister has said.

Nicola Sturgeon has confirmed the city, which today became Scotland's Covid 'hotspot', will remain under existing Level Three rules for a further week. 

It means Glaswegians will not be allowed to drink alcohol inside venues such as pubs or visit family or friends indoors. The likes of cinemas, snooker halls, and stadiums will also not open on Monday as originally planned, with overnight stays to remain banned. 

A review will take place next week to consider if the city can then be moved into Level Two. 

READ MORE: Coronavirus: Operation underway in Glasgow to halt spread in South Side

Speaking in the Scottish Parliament today, Ms Sturgeon said: "An additional and very significant factor in Glasgow is evidence suggesting the outbreak is being driven by the so-called Indian variant. 

"We do not yet have a full understanding of the impact of this variant, however it is thought this variant could be even more transmissible than the Kent variant. That alone calls for a degree of caution.

"Public Health teams are optimistic testing is capable of getting this variant under control. 

"The advice given to me is that we need a few more days to assess the data and build confidence that the situation can be brought under control. 

Glasgow Times: Cinemas such as the Glasgow Film Theatre will not be allowed to open on Monday as originally planned Cinemas such as the Glasgow Film Theatre will not be allowed to open on Monday as originally planned

"Very reluctantly, we have decided to keep Glasgow City in Level Three for a further week. 

"I know how disappointing this will be but pressing pause for a few days will avoid a situation where we have to impose more restrictive measures in the coming weeks." 

Ms Sturgeon has also said people will be advised not to travel in and out of Glasgow for the next week unless for essential reasons and promised financial support has been offered to the city council to help hospitality businesses. 

She added: "Glasgow City will receive an extra £1.5 million per week in support. 

"I am aware this announcement will be disappointing and frustrating. I want to stress that our progress has been good. 

"We will hit bumps in the road." 

Several areas have reported high rates of Covid in recent weeks – including Easterhouse and Pollokshields - and cases in the city doubled in a week this month from 27 per 100,000 to 58 per 100,000.

READ MORE: Glasgow overtakes Moray in Covid rates as expert warns of ‘loss of control’

Latest figures published today showed there were 80.4 cases per 100,000 people in the seven days to May 11, making Glasgow Scotland's new Covid hotspot. 

The Glasgow City Council leader, Susan Aitken, called the news "desperately disappointing".

She said: "It’s desperately disappointing not to move down to Level 2 on Monday, to have this further delay in being able to meet more freely with our families and friends and to ease some more restrictions on the city’s businesses.

"I know lots of us will be really distressed by this news. But this is a really fragile moment in the city’s recovery after making great progress in driving down Covid cases since the beginning of the year.

Glasgow Times: Susan Aitken Susan Aitken

"The safety of our communities and our most vulnerable citizens & the long term health of the city must come first.

"It’s down to all of us now to fight for Glasgow and turn this around."

READ MORE: Covid Scotland: Businesses react to decision to keep Glasgow in Level Three