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POLL: Full lockdown returns for Scotland - do you agree?

By David Porter

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In Scotland in the last 24 hours there have been a total of 1905 cases a decrease from the previous days 2464 positive results but which equates to 15.0 per cent of those tested and on par with the 15.2 per cent the previous day.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon: "The cabinet met this morning to asses the up to date Covid situation which I must say from the outset is very serious and to discuss what action is necessary.

"In summary from midnight tonight for the duration of January there will be legal requirement to stay at home except for essential purposes, this is similar to the lockdown of March last year.

"In the past two weeks there have been significant game changers in our fight against this virus.

"The vaccine offers us a way out of this situation but the other the new faster spreading variant is a new blow."

She continued: "To ensure that the vaccine can win this race, to givc it the time it needs we must slow down the virus.

"The evidence is now compelling that the new variant is much more transmissible.

"The new variant already accounts for more than half of the cases in Scotland.

"Today's case numbers illustrate the severity of the situation.

"We are now seeing a steeply rising rate of infection and I am more concerned about the situation now than I have been at any time since March.

"The number of patients in hospital is now close to the April peak - Ayrshire is already at 96 per cent of its capacity.

"All mainland ICU units have passed their normal winter levels."

She said: "The numbers indicate the infections around two weeks ago, NHS Louisa Jordan remains ready to be used.

"In short NHS services are coping but in some areas it is fragile and if the rate was to continue unchecked it would be overwhelmed."

She continued: "All of that explains why we have to act quickly and decisively.

"Increased tranmissibility means that Level 4 may not be enough to stop the spread.

"We must return to a situation closer to lockdown."

One the new measures which will be in place for the whole of January she explained: "The first is that everyone should stay at home, it is the single best way of stopping the spread and will become law as it was in the last lockdown.

"You can only leave home for an essential purpose - shopping, excercise and caring responsibilities.

"You must work from home if you can do so, you can only go if it cannot be done from home.

"Businesses must take this seriously and the law means that businesses that can look at what can be done from home, must be done in this way.

"The economy secretary will update on this today.

"New guidance will also be issued to those shielding.

"Unlike last time, outdoor exercise is not being limited, but the rule on outdoor gathering changes, it is now that case that it is two people from two households.

"Children under 11 are excluded and does not include 12-16 years olds who must abide by the exercise rules.

"It remains that case that no one should be travelling except for essential purposes."

From Friday - places of worship will also close to reduce transmission - only five at weddings and maximum of 20 at funerals.

"There were also be further revised rules for non-essential services."

On schools she confirmed: "We have revised the date for schools and the majority will now be closed until February , we will review this in mid-January.

"This includes nursery and secondary as well as primary.

"The impact of this is the most severe.

"We will continue work on testing in schools and when we can vaccinate school staff.

"Right now it is not consistent with a safety first approach - community transmission is to high and there is still significant uncertainty on the impact of the new variant on young people.

"We are considering how we can vaccinate staff as part of the JCVI priority list.

"Ultimately the best way we can get pupils back is by all of us abiding by the rules we have set out."
She concluded: "This is not the New Year statement I wanted to give, nor that anyone wanted to hear, but we must act quickly and for all of us it means sticking to the rules and staying at home."

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