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Sturgeon announces national lockdown in Scotland

Written by on 4 January 2021

A nationwide lockdown will be introduced in Scotland from midnight tonight, Nicola Sturgeon has announced.

The first minister told the Scottish Parliament there will be a legal requirement for people to stay at home for the rest of January, with schools remaining closed to most pupils until the start of February at the earliest.

“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,” Ms Sturgeon said.

She said the increased transmissibility of a new COVID-19 variant first identified in the UK means that Scotland’s current Level 4 restrictions may not be enough to bring the R number back below 1.

“It is essential that we further limit interaction between different households to stem the spread and bring the situation back under control, while we vaccinate more people,” the first minister said.

“In short, we must return for a period to a situation much closer to the lockdown of last March.”

Failing to act further could see the NHS in Scotland overrun with coronavirus patients within “three or four weeks”, Ms Sturgeon added.

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“We have an opportunity in Scotland to avert the situation here deteriorating to that extent,” the first minister told MSPs.

“But we must act quickly.”

What are the new measures?

  • Stay at home and only leave for an essential purpose, ie for caring responsibilities or essential shopping
  • Work from home unless it really is not possible
  • Businesses must look at moving as much as possible to being done from home
  • If you are shielding and you cannot work from home, it is advised that you do not work at all
  • Frequency of outdoor exercise is not being limited
  • However, rule on outdoor gatherings changes from six people to a maximum of two people from two households. Children under 11 do not count
  • If you live in a Level 4 area you cannot leave home unless it is essential. No one is allowed to travel into or out of Scotland unless it is for an essential purpose
  • Communal worship cannot take place but 20 people can attend a funeral and five can attend a wedding
  • There will be community and social support for those who need it.

The schools announcement will mean an extra two weeks of home learning for most children.

The Scottish government had already extended the Christmas break until 11 January, with the original plan for remote learning to continue until 18 January.

Schools will remain open for vulnerable children and the children of key workers who cannot work from home.

“Just as the last places we ever want to close are schools and nurseries, so it is the case that schools and nurseries will be the first places we want to reopen as we re-emerge from this latest lockdown,” Ms Sturgeon said.

“They remain our priority.”

Updating MSPs on the rollout of coronavirus vaccines in Scotland, Ms Sturgeon said one million people will have had a jab by the end of the month.

She added that it is hoped that the most vulnerable people in the country and those over the age of 50 will have had their first dose by the end of May.