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National lockdown to be imposed in Scotland for rest of January, Sturgeon announces

Sturgeon also confirmed that most pupils will be learning from home for at least the rest of the month.

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon
Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon
Image: Jeff J Mitchell via PA Images

SCOTLAND IS TO impose a nationwide coronavirus lockdown for the rest of January because of a surge in cases, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has announced. 

“We have decided to introduce from midnight, for the duration of January, a legal requirement to stay at home, except for essential purposes. This is similar to the lockdown of March last year,” she told the Scottish parliament.

She said: “We have an opportunity in Scotland to avert the situation here deteriorating to that extent but we must act quickly.”

The First Minister said the lockdown decision was taken after a meeting of the Scottish Cabinet this morning.

People who are shielding in Scotland have been told not to go into work by Sturgeon.

Speaking in the Scottish Parliament, she said: “If you were shielding and you cannot work from home, our clear advice now is that you should not go into work at all.

“The chief medical officer is writing to everyone who falls into this category, and his letter will count as a fit note for those who need it.”

Unlike the lockdown in March, no restrictions will be put on outdoor exercise.

However, the First Minister said, rules around outdoor gatherings will change to only allow two people from two households to meet outdoors.

Sturgeon also confirmed that most pupils will be learning from home for at least the rest of the month. 

The First Minister said a period of home learning would drive down transmission rates.

She also said the scientific community was not clear on the impact of the new variant of Covid-19 on young people.

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Sturgeon said: “Just as the last places we ever want to close are schools and nurseries, so it is the case that schools and nurseries will be the first places we want to reopen as we re-emerge from this latest lockdown.

“They remain our priority.”

The First Minister also said that work was being done to see if school and childcare staff could be made a priority for vaccination.

The move by the devolved government in Edinburgh will heap fresh pressure on UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson to follow suit, given pressures on health services from a new variant.

With reporting by Press Association and © AFP 2021

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