By Tony Winterburn • 19 December 2020 • 20:02
Scotland Imposes Strict Level 4 Restrictions From Boxing Day For Three Weeks.
Scotlands First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has announced that the planned relaxation over the festive period has been cut back to just Christmas Day for the whole of Scotland. Nicola Sturgeon has also said a “strict travel ban” between Scotland and the rest of the UK is now necessary. The travel ban between Scotland and the rest of the UK will remain in place throughout the Christmas holidays and bubbles will only be allowed on Christmas Day.
The Christmas “bubble” policy has been scrapped too, with household mixing only allowed on Christmas Day. Measures had been set to ease across the UK between December 23-27 However, all of Scotland will enter Level 4 – the toughest of the county’s five tiers of restrictions – for three weeks from one minute after midnight on Boxing Day morning.
In the news conference, the prime minister said the new strain “may be up to 70% more transmissible than the old variant” although there was no evidence as yet that it was more deadly or led to a more severe illness.
Non-essential shops will close as will cafes, restaurants and hairdressers. Orkney, Shetland, the Western Isles and other Island communities will move to Level 3. The restrictions will be reviewed after two weeks, Ms Sturgeon said. Schools will open for keyworkers as normal, but the majority of pupils will not return on January 11, with online learning until at least January 18.
Nicola Sturgeon: “I say this with a heavy Heart”
Addressing the nation in a press conference, Nicola Sturgeon said, quote: “In order to reduce the risk of more of the [coronavirus] strain being imported into Scotland, we intend to maintain a strict travel ban between Scotland and the rest of the UK. Unfortunately, and I am genuinely sorry about this, that ban will remain in place right throughout the festive period. 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. Cross-border travel for all but the most essential purposes is not permitted.”
The new strain of the virus is the “most serious and potentially dangerous juncture” faced since the start of the pandemic, the First Minister said.
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