Watch: Nicola Sturgeon announces national lockdown in Scotland
Scotland has imposed a full national lockdown in response to the “extremely serious” spread of the new coronavirus variant.
Speaking in the Scottish Parliament on Monday, first minister Nicola Sturgeon said the move is needed to give the COVID-19 vaccine the “time it needs to get ahead” of the variant amid a “steeply rising trend of infections”.
The lockdown will come into force on Tuesday and last for the remainder of January.
Sturgeon said it will be a “legal requirement to stay at home expect for essential purposes” – similar to the one in March last year.
This includes schools, which will remain closed to most pupils until February at the earliest.
Sturgeon’s announcement will add to the pressure on Boris Johnson to introduce a national lockdown in England, with Johnson having said earlier on Monday that tougher rules will be “coming soon”.
Shortly after Sturgeon’s announcement, it was confirmed Johnson would be making a televised address to the nation at 8pm on Monday.
Sturgeon, meanwhile, said: “It is no exaggeration to say that I am more concerned about the situation we face now than I have been at any time since March last year.”
The seven-day average of infections per 100,000 people in Scotland has risen by 65%, Sturgeon said, adding that not tightening current tier-style guidelines could see COVID capacity in hospitals overrun within “three or four weeks”.
Under the new rules, Scots will only be allowed to leave home for caring responsibilities, essential shopping, exercise and “being part of an extended household”.
People will only be able go to their workplace if they cannot work from home. Meanwhile, only two people from up to two households will be able to meet outdoors.
Sturgeon urged people to “stick with” the new restrictions as the vaccines are rolled out.
“I know that the next few weeks will be incredibly tough,” she said.
“I’m sorry to ask for further sacrifices, after nine long months of them. But these sacrifices are necessary.
“And the difference between now and last March is that with the help of vaccines, we now have confidence that they will pave the way to brighter days ahead.
“So, for everyone’s sake and safety, please stick with it and stay home.”
She also returned to the public messaging from the March lockdown, saying: “Stay home. Save lives. Protect the NHS.”
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