THE Scottish Government has made public its reasoning behind placing East Lothian in Level 3 of its new tiered coronavirus restrictions.

In an announcement this afternoon, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said that East Lothian would be placed in Level 3, despite calls for the county to instead go into the less-restrictive Level 2.

In a document published on the Scottish Government website this afternoon, titled Covid Public Health – Allocation of Levels to Local Authorities, the reasoning behind East Lothian's placement in Level 3 is set out.

A table showing the indicators used to make the decision on where to place each local authority placed East Lothian at a level of 3 for Test Positivity, 2 for Cases/100k and Cases/100k Forecast, and 0 for Hospital Forecast and ICU Forecast.

That saw it placed in Level 3 - the same level as North and South Lanarkshire, despite those two local authorities being placed at 4 in all five of those indicators.

The section detailing the setting of restrictions in East Lothian reads: "Consideration was given to allocating East Lothian to Level Zero. Given indicator (a) showing a value of 82 [positive cases] per 100,000 [population] with a rising trend over the last week from 61 per 100,000 in the week up to Sunday, October 18, and indicator (b) showing a value of 6.01 per cent positivity, it was judged that there remained sustained and significant levels of community transmission of the virus in East Lothian. On that basis, allocation of level zero was not deemed appropriate.

READ MORE: Do the tiers justify the tears? Spotlight on East Lothian's Covid-19 cases ​

"Consideration was given to allocating East Lothian to Level 1. Again, the values of indicators (a), (b) and (c), with a forecast 88 per cent probability of cases being over 100 cases per 100,000 people in two weeks' time, did not support a significant reduction in the levels of restrictions in force. Therefore it was not judged appropriate to allocate East Lothian to Level 1.

"Consideration was given to allocating East Lothian to Level 2. Allocation to Level 2 would result in a reduction in the levels of restriction at a point before any sustained improvement was evidenced and consolidated, and where the data indicates a rising trend in cases per 100,000 over the last week. On that basis, an effective reduction to Level 2 was not deemed appropriate.

"Equally, there was no evidence that there is a need to substantially increase the levels of restriction currently applying to East Lothian. Effectively, the current levels of restriction should be maintained for the time being.

"Level 4 was not judged appropriate and on that basis East Lothian was allocated to Level 3."

In today's announcement, the First Minister did state that East Lothian could soon be downgraded to Level 2.

She told MSPs: "We would hope at a very early stage to consider moving some authorities, I think East Lothian in particular and possibly Edinburgh, from Level 3 to Level 2.

"I cannot make that commitment now but hope to be able to in the coming week."