Scottish First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon has made a live address this evening at 5.30pm tightening Scotland’s Covid festive restrictions.
Following a meeting with the other nations of the UK and the leaders of opposition parties, we’ve set out the main points below affecting Scotland:
A new variant of the Covid virus suggests Scotland faces a more serious situation and as such, appropriate, preventative measures have to be taken.
To prevent more of this new strain entering Scotland:
- Everybody should firstly redouble their personal efforts. Staying out of each others houses, abiding safe distances, following hygiene advice.
- A strict travel ban will be imposed between Scotland and the rest of the UK, a ban which will remain throughout the festive period. Cross border travel for all but most essential purposes is NOT permitted.
- Meeting indoors over the festive period should be restricted to just a bubble on Christmas Day only. That interaction with others will be only allowed on that 1 day, rather than the planned period of 5 days. The household limits will still apply. Maximum of 8 people from 3 households.
If you have caring responsibilities, you CAN still do that on any day if you’re looking after a vulnerable person. Otherwise the message is stay safe and stay home.
A new National lockdown for mainland Scotland will commence on Boxing day morning for 3 weeks. All mainland regions will be put into Tier 4 restrictions, the most severe, meaning a shut down again of non essential shops.
There are changes for schools too.
For keyworkers schools will reopen as normal. For the majority of pupils, the holiday period will extend to 11th January then online until at least 18th January, with schools planned to re-open on 18th January.
This action is designed to reduce the spread in Scotland any further.
There is no evidence that the new strain is affecting the effectiveness of the vaccine or death rates, but there IS evidence that it’s spreading faster, possibly up to 70% more transmissible.
Latest information has shown 17 cases of the new strain in Scotland, detected by genome sequencing, through this may be greatly understating what’s happening.
Nicola’s address follows Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who this afternoon announced large parts of England will tighten up festive restrictions. Northern Ireland has followed suit and Wales taking drastic measures imposing a national lockdown from midnight tonight, with only Christmas day being an exception.
Cases in Scotland for Covid in general are around half those being seen in Scotland. If we do act firmly now, this serious situation forecast hopefully will not materialise.
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