Nicola Sturgeon suggests lockdown could last 'until May'
Nicola Sturgeon announced a lockdown in Scotland on Monday afternoon as she said the situation is “extremely serious”. The First Minister told the Scottish parliament that from midnight on Monday people would face a legal requirement to stay at home except for essential purposes, similar to the lockdown imposed at the start of the pandemic in March last year. Ms Sturgeon has since said she is hopeful restrictions could be eased but not certain.
Speaking to Good Morning Scotland, Ms Sturgeon said: “I can’t be definitive right now about when we will lift these restrictions but I described it yesterday as a race.
“We’ve got the vaccines in one lane, we’re trying to accelerate that.
“We’ve got the virus which has just learned to run faster in the other lane and we’ve got to slow it down.
“Think about it as these two lanes, lockdown is about trying to slow down rates of the virus.
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“If we manage to do that then hopefully we will be able to start lifting some of these restrictions while the vaccination programme is ongoing even in that first phase of it.
“But I can’t be certain about that because it is dependent on us managing to get these levels of infection down again and that’s down to all of us.”
A legally-enforceable stay-at-home order will apply across mainland Scotland and Skye with people only permitted to leave their home for an “essential purpose”.
This includes essential shopping, exercise, caring for someone, or if you are part of an extended household.
Nicola Sturgeon announces 'stay at home' order in Scotland
Anyone able to work from home must do so however those shielding to protect themselves from Covid-19 should not go into work – even if they cannot work from home.
Schools will be closed to most pupils until February 1 at the earliest, meaning an additional two weeks of home learning for youngsters, in a move welcomed by teaching unions on Monday.
Ms Sturgeon also revised the numbers of those allowed to gather outside to just two people from two different households, instead of the previous limit of six people from two households.
However children aged 11 and under are not included in this limit and can still “play outdoors in larger groups, including in organised gatherings”.
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From Friday, places of worship must close but can open to broadcast a service or conduct a funeral, wedding or civil partnership.
A maximum of 20 people can attend a funeral service but wakes are banned, while up to five people can attend weddings and civil partnership services.
Police Scotland Chief Constable Iain Livingstone also confirmed there will be “increased patrols” in Scotland’s communities and said and officers will continue to act against anyone making “wilful breaches” of the law.
Shetland, Orkney, Western Isles and several other islands currently remain at Level 3 restrictions.
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