Scotland’s lockdown restrictions will stay in place until at least the middle of February, Nicola Sturgeon announced. today.
The First Minister said restrictions are “having an impact” but another 71 deaths were registered in Scotland yesterday and another 1,165 positive infections were recorded.
The number of people in Scottish hospitals with Covid-19 is 30% higher than the previous peak of the pandemic last year, and there’s a serious outbreak in the Western Isles causing alarm.
Sturgeon, in the Scottish Parliament, confirmed the current restrictions will stay in place “until mid-February”. It will be reviewed again on February 2.
Schools will remain closed to most pupils over the same timescale, meaning more home learning for thousands of children, the Daily Record reported.
Initially, schools were meant to emerge from Scotland’s second lockdown on February 1.
Sturgeon said the country is in a precarious position despite “encouraging signs”.
“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,” she said.
All of mainland Scotland is in lockdown with residents told to stay at home except for essential reasons.
Some islands are in Level 3, which allows up to six people from two households to meet indoors.
The islands of Barra and Vatersay, where there is an outbreak, will move from level 3 to level 4 from Wednesday January 20, joining the rest of mainland Scotland and Skye. One in 10 people on Barra have been forced to self-isolate.
Sturgeon earlier met senior Scottish Government colleagues to discuss the latest worrying coronavirus figures.
Sturgeon said: “Any relaxation of lockdown while case numbers remain high, even though they might be declining, could quickly send the situation into reverse.
“We believe that the lockdown restrictions – and the sacrifices everyone continues to make – are beginning to have an impact. However, it is important to be cautious.
“I continue to be very grateful to people across the country for their patience and resilience in the face of this extraordinary challenge.
“At the moment, lockdown is the best way of keeping each other safe, as vaccination continues. It is how we can protect ourselves and our loved ones.”
On schools, Sturgeon added: “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.”