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Scotland takes 'firm' action to tighten restrictions ahead of Christmas

Travel will not be allowed between Scotland and other parts of the UK over the Christmas period.
Dec 19th 2020, 6:12 PM 30,891 10

SCOTLAND HAS FOLLOWED England in announcing stricter restrictions for Christmas in the face of a new strain of coronavirus spreading in the UK. 

Travel between Scotland and other parts of the UK will not be allowed over the Christmas and New Year’s period.

Visits to another household will only be allowed on Christmas Day, with a three week lockdown coming into effect on 26 December.

Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said that the spread of the new strain in the UK meant that tighter restrictions were needed to prevent significant damage that the strain could cause.

Sturgeon described the current situation as “probably the most serious and potentially dangerous juncture we have faced since the start of the pandemic in February and March”.

“We have to take this seriously and act accordingly and appropriately,” Sturgeon said.

“The upside is if we do act now and act firmly now we can prevent that serious situation materialising,” she said.

“The bottom line we face right now is this: if we don’t act firmly and decisively now to stop is spreading, it will take hold here.”

Sturgeon said it could mean the NHS would be overwhelmed in January and more people could die than otherwise would.

“We simply cannot risk more of this new strain entering the country if we can possibly avoid it. That means people from Scotland not visiting other parts of the UK, and vice versa.”

In schools, the Christmas holiday will be extended until 11 January and learning will take place online until 18 January at the earliest.

An exception will be made for some students, such as the children of key workers, who will be able to return to schools as was previously scheduled.

England’s chief medical officer Chris Witty confirmed today that the new strain of the virus can spread more quickly and called for greater public vigilance to reduce transmission.

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Earlier this evening, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced tighter restrictions for London and the South East and East of England that cut back on a relaxation of the rules for Christmas that previously had been planned.

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Lauren Boland

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