Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has announced that the national lockdown will remain in place until mid-February at least, as a highly contagious strain of Covid-19 continues to afflict the UK.
“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,” Sturgeon told lawmakers on Tuesday.
Sturgeon said the measures were beginning to have an impact, but emphasised that case numbers remain “very high.”
She added that there are currently around 2,000 coronavirus patients currently in hospital across Scotland and that pressure on the NHS is already acute.
“It is for all these reasons that the cabinet decided this morning to maintain the restrictions which are currently in place,” she noted.
The first minister also said that there would be continued need for social distancing and face coverings for another while, but she hoped to see a return to in-school teaching next month.
Sturgeon concluded by saying that the cabinet would reassess the situation on February 2. She added that the health services were on track to hit their vaccination targets and inoculate the most vulnerable by mid-February.
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Shortly before Sturgeon’s speech, Scottish officials announced that there had been a further 71 new Covid-19 deaths in the past 24 hours, bringing the country’s death toll for people with a positive test to 5,376.
Another 1,165 new cases were also registered, bringing the total number of positive tests to 164,927.
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