CLACKMANNANSHIRE will remain under Level Three restrictions despite having Scotland’s highest Covid-19 case rate earlier this month.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon confirmed in the Scottish Parliament on Tuesday, December 8, the Wee County would see no change to its restriction level.

That means all retailers can remain open and the hospitality industry can continue to operate – albeit under limited circumstances.

It also means tradespeople can continue to work in people’s homes, public buildings will remain open and up to 50 people can gather indoors within places of worship.

The full list of what is and is not permitted can be found on the Scottish Government website; activities remain subject to social distancing rules.

The first minister’s announcement came despite growing evidence that coronavirus cases are rising sharply in the area.

According to Public Health Scotland (PHS), Clackmannanshire’s weekly rate of Covid-19 cases per 100,000 people was the highest in Scotland on December 3, at 207.6.

That figure was well ahead of Argyll and Bute, which had the second highest case rate on that date, at 175.8.

Separately, provisional PHS data dated December 1 showed Clackmannanshire had the highest percentage of pupils off school because of coronavirus.

Indeed, the 11.8 per cent of pupils absent because of “any Covid-19 related reason” was far higher than the Scottish average of 3.3 per cent.

The first minister said the rise in cases locally can be attributed to mass testing being carried out in the area.

Fresh figures from Tuesday showed there have been a total of 864 cases in the Wee County.

Wee County residents can visit to examine Level Three restrictions in full.