Scotland to enter national lockdown…is England next?
First minister Nicola Sturgeon today announced that Scotland is to enter another national lockdown from midnight tonight, lasting until the end of the month.
The majority of schools were already expecting to carry out remote learning until 18 January but this has now been extended until 1 February. School closures will impact all those except vulnerable children and those of key workers. The closures also apply to nurseries.
There are also changes to the rules surrounding social contact outdoors. Currently up to six people from two households are able to meet outdoors.
From tomorrow, that will be restricted to a maximum of two people from two households, though this excludes children under the age of 11.
Strict travel restrictions will also be brought in so no-one is allowed to travel in or out of Scotland unless it’s essential. The legal requirement will be to stay at home.
Sturgeon also said further restrictions will be brought in on essential workplaces, while communal prayer and wakes will not be possible in January. However, up to 20 people will still be able to attend funeral services and a maximum of five people can attend a wedding or civil partnership service.
Guidance will be changed so that everyone who can work from home should do so and there will also be revisions to the guidance for those shielding. For those who were shielding and who cannot work from home, the advice is not to go into work at all.
Unlike the lockdown last year, the frequency of outdoor exercise is not being limited.
Scottish Islands will remain under tier 3 restrictions though this will be reviewed regularly.
Sturgeon 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.
“We must return for a period to a situation much closer to the lockdown of last March. These additional level 4 restrictions – essentially returning us to a position similar to the lockdown of last March – will be in place for the whole of January. We will keep them closely under review.
“However, I cannot at this stage rule out keeping them in place longer, nor making further changes. Nothing about this is easy.
“I know how devastating restrictions like these are and I give an assurance that we will not keep them in place for longer than is absolutely necessary.”
Prime minister Boris Johnson will give a press conference at 8pm tonight with further restrictions expected to be announced in England.