Scotland To Go Into Full Lockdown From Midnight Tonight
First Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon has said the Scottish government will enforce restrictions similar to those of a full lockdown from midnight tonight.
Sturgeon, who is currently making her statement to parliament, announced that a legal requirement to stay at home – except for essential purposes – will come into effect until the end of January.
The first minister said the tightened restrictions are due to the new variant of the virus, which now accounts for almost half of new cases in Scotland.
‘This is most certainly not the new year’s statement I wanted to give, and not the one anyone wanted to hear,’ she said.
Sturgeon added, ‘We must do everything we can to slow down the spread of the virus. We must act immediately and firmly. It means following the rules and guidance, but above all it means staying at home.’
From tomorrow, only a maximum of two people, from two households, will be allowed to meet outside. This will not include children under age 11.
Places of worship will also be closed, and non-essential travel into and out of Scotland will not be allowed.
Sturgeon said this is the most concerned she has been about the worsening of the situation than March last year, before the first peak.
Comparing the situation to a race, she said the virus is now ahead of the pace of vaccination due to the new variant:
Possibly the most simple way of explaining the challenge we face right now is to compare it to a race. In one lane we have vaccines; our job is to make sure they run as fast as possible. But in the other lane is the virus, which as a result of this new variant, has just learned to run much faster and has most definitely picked up pace in the last couple of weeks.
To ensure that the vaccine wins the race, it is essential to speed up vaccination as far as possible. But to give it the time it needs to get ahead, we must also slow the virus down.
There have been 289 deaths in the country since the beginning of the Christmas period.
The first minister said schools will stay closed for the majority of pupils, apart from vulnerable students and children of key workers, until February 1.
‘The overall level of community transmission is too high for schools to open,’ she said, adding that there isn’t enough evidence to determine the impact of the new variant on young people.
While apologising for having to ask for ‘more sacrifices’ from the Scottish public, and acknowledging that the next few weeks will be ‘incredibly difficult’, she said the vaccination programme is the key difference between now and last March.
So far, more than 100,000 people in Scotland have had their first dose of vaccine.
Sturgeon told parliament that she expects all those aged over 50 and other vulnerable people will have received their first dose by May.
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