Nicola Sturgeon, the First Minister, has announced that Scotland will enter a national lockdown.
There will now be a legal obligation for people to stay at home from midnight tonight, unless necessary travel is required.
Ms. Sturgeon said in a speech at Holyrood, “I can now confirm in summary that from tomorrow, for the duration of January, we have decided to introduce a legal requirement to stay at home except for essential purposes. This is similar to the lockdown in March last year.”
“In fact, it is no exaggeration to say that I am more concerned about the situation we now face than I have been at any time since March last year.” the First Minister added.
The ruling comes as Covid-19 cases have increased significantly across the nation, with 1,905 new positive cases reported today.
Here are the key points from the announcement today:
Hang in the message home
If you live in a Level 4 city, you will only be permitted to leave your home for an important reason beginning tomorrow – similar to what happened in March.
That means sticking as close to home as possible when you go out, and avoiding crowded areas.
And it remains the case that, unless it is for a significant reason, no one will be allowed in or out of Scotland.
Schools are kept closed
Nicola Sturgeon reported that schools will remain closed for the majority of pupils until February 1.
The move will extend to all pupils – with the exception of disadvantaged children and key employees’ children. And kindergartens as well as primary and secondary schools will be affected.
Ms. Sturgeon said, “I want to make clear that reopening school buildings to all students as soon as possible and then keeping them open remains our priority.”
Two factors at the moment, however, mean that it is not consistent with an approach that puts safety first, that all kids attend school in person.
“Second, the community’s total level of transmission is too high. Before schools can safely reopen, we need to minimize transmission. A period of online learning can help us do that.
“The second reason is that there is still a lot of uncertainty about the impact of the new variant on transmission among young people,” he said.
“We need to take a careful approach, therefore.
“Therefore, most students will be studying online for at least the rest of the month.”
Jan. 18 will be updated if they will return to school on Feb. 1.
The law for outdoor assemblies will change beginning tomorrow.
Previously, up to six individuals from two households were able to meet outside. The Scottish Government thinks it is appropriate to further limit this because of the greater portability of this new variety.
From tomorrow, a maximum of two people from up to two households will be able to meet outdoors.
This limit would not count children under the age of 11, and they will be allowed to play outdoors in larger groups, including organized gatherings.
However, outdoor activity can only occur in a manner consistent with the two-person-from-two-household law for anyone else – including 12- to 17-year-olds.
Operating from home
It must be achieved by those who have the ability to work from home.
If the job can not be completed from home, it is just a fair excuse to leave home to go to work.
Since the situation is at least as critical now as it was then, the Scottish Government is asking individuals and corporations to take this “really seriously”
The legislation already demands that certain companies close Stage 4 in some industries.
All businesses are asked to review their practices to ensure that any single role that can be done by individuals working at home is performed that way.
Adjust shielding notices
Our simple advice now is not to go to work at all if you have been sheltered and can not work from home.
Capacity hospitals at
Nicola Sturgeon reported that the total number of patients in hospital with Covid 19 is near to its peak in April.
In terms of hospital bed numbers, NHS Ayrshire and Arran is currently at 96% capacity with Covid-19, and three other health boards – Borders, Greater Glasgow & Clyde and Lanarkshire – are above 60% of their capacity.
In Scotland, the total number of ICU patients is already above average winter levels.