COVID-19: Scotland to remain in lockdown until at least the middle of February, Nicola Sturgeon announces

January 19, 2021

Scotland will remain in lockdown until at least the middle of February, Nicola Sturgeon has announced.

Speaking in the Scottish Parliament, the first minister said: "The cabinet decided this morning to maintain the restrictions which are currently in place.

"That means that the lockdown restrictions - including the strict stay-at-home requirement - will remain in place across mainland Scotland and some island communities until at least the middle of February."

Ms Sturgeon added she hoped the "strictest form of lockdown" would not last for "too much longer", but added some measures like face coverings, social distancing and possibly travel limitations "are likely to be necessary for some time".

She also told people to remain "cautious" despite the number of new coronavirus cases declining, warning: "We need to see these trends continue, to be more certain that this phase of the epidemic is now on a downward trajectory...

"Any relaxation of lockdown while case numbers, even though they might be declining, nevertheless remain very high, could quickly send the situation into reverse."

Schools, which were meant to emerge from lockdown at the start of next month, will also remain closed along with nurseries to all those apart from vulnerable children and those of key workers until mid-February.

"If it is at all possible, as I very much hope it will be, to begin even a phased return to in-school learning in mid-February, we will," the first minister vowed.

The Island of Barra will be placed into lockdown from midnight on Tuesday, Ms Sturgeon added - revealing 10% of its population had been forced to self-isolate.

On vaccines, Ms Sturgeon said the government is on track to be giving 400,000 people jabs a week by the end of February.

By the start of March, she said she hopes everyone over the age of 65 will have had their first dose - with everyone on the priority list inoculated by early May.

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