Scotland will go back into national coronavirus lockdown, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announces
- Scotland will go back into national coronavirus lockdown, Nicola Sturgeon has announced.
- Members of the public will be legally required to stay at home with schools remaining closed in January
- A new faster-spreading coronavirus variant has taken hold in Britain.
- UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson is under growing pressure to also place England back into full lockdown.
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Scotland will go back into full national coronavirus lockdown with schools remaining closed and members of the public legally required to stay at home, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced on Monday afternoon.
Sturgeon said the measures would come into force from midnight.
"I can confirm now in summary that we have decided to introduce from midnight tonight for the duration of January a legal requirement to stay at home except for essential purposes," she told the Scottish Parliament.
"This is similar to the lockdown of March last year."
From Tuesday all household mixing will be banned indoors and a maximum of two people over the age of 11 will be allowed to meet outdoors.
Schools will also remain closed to most pupils for the rest of January, with a review taking place on January 18th on whether schools can re-open in February.
Sturgeon said she had chosen to act to prevent the situation in Scotland "deteriorating" to the same level as seen in England, where there has been an explosion in coronavirus cases and hospitalisations over the Christmas holidays.
"We are now seeing a steeply rising trend of infections," the first minister 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."
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson is coming under growing pressure to also place England back under a strict lockdown.
Coronavirus restrictions already apply in differing degrees in English regions. However, Johnson has so far resisted imposing another full national lockdown.
However, speaking on Monday morning as the latest figures show exponential growth in coronavirus cases and hospitalizations, the prime minister admitted that "tougher measures" are now needed to control the virus.
He told reporters during a visit to a hospital in London that: "If you look at the numbers there's no question we will have to take tougher measures and we will be announcing those in due course."
Opposition Labour party leader Sir Keir Starmer on Sunday called for an immediate national lockdown due to an explosion in case numbers and hospitalizations over the Christmas holidays.
Parents across many parts of England where primaries were due to open on Monday received messages from their children's primary schools over the weekend informing them that they would also not be reopening due to a shortage of teaching staff.
Teachers across the country have been advised by the National Education Union not to attend schools due to the "serious and imminent danger" to their health caused by the virus.
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