A nationwide lockdown will be introduced in Scotland from midnight tonight, Nicola Sturgeon has announced.
The first minister told the Scottish Parliament there will be a legal requirement for people to stay at home for the rest of January, with schools remaining closed to most pupils until the start of February at the earliest.
“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,” Ms Sturgeon said.
She said the increased transmissibility of a new COVID-19 variant first identified in the UK means that Scotland’s current Level 4 restrictions may not be enough to bring the R number back below 1.
“It is essential that we further limit interaction between different households to stem the spread and bring the situation back under control, while we vaccinate more people,” the first minister said.
“In short, we must return for a period to a situation much closer to the lockdown of last March.”
Failing to act further could see the NHS in Scotland overrun with coronavirus patients within “three or four weeks”, Ms Sturgeon added.
“We have an opportunity in Scotland to avert the situation here deteriorating to that extent,” the first minister told MSPs.
“But we must act quickly.”