Sturgeon PANIC as Scotland ‘days away’ from new coronavirus lockdown

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Nearly two months after the restrictions came into force, the number of Scots with coronavirus has doubled. According to The Daily Mail, Scotland had 574 new infections a day in September on the day the rules were introduced.

Last Tuesday 1,234 people tested positive for coronavirus in Scotland – more than double the September figure.

The Office for National Statistics said las Thursday that the R rate for Scotland was between 0.8 and 1.1.

The researchers said: “Positivity rates in Scotland have increased over the last six weeks but it is too early to say that they have levelled off.”

The R rate for Wales, which also introduced a circuit breaker was between 1.0 and 1.3.

In England, the R rate was between 1.1-1.2, down from 1.1-1.3.

England has also seen a decrease in number of infections since the second lockdown was brought into force on November 5.

On Thursday, England reported 951 cases of COVID-19 – less than half the number reported the week before.

Ms Sturgeon highlighted the importance of adhering to social distancing when communicating the new restrictions on September 25.

She said: “With some limited exceptions, none of us should be visiting each other’s homes at the moment.

“Outdoors or in public indoor spaces, we must not meet in groups of any more than six people from a maximum of two households. Children under 12 are not included in these limits outdoors so they can play with their friends and young people aged 12 to 17 are exempt from the two household limit they can meet outdoors in groups of up to six but all six people don’t have to be from just two households.

“From today, all hospitality premises will close by 10 pm to try to reduce the amount of time people are spending in licensed premises. Beyond that, we are asking people to limit visits to and social interactions in pubs and restaurants as far as possible.

“These measures are tough, I know they are tough but they are necessary if we are to keep schools open, resume more non-COVID NHS services, keep care homes safe and protect jobs.

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“The danger – if we don’t act now – is that the virus will continue to spread, and even more severe or longer-lasting restrictions will be required later.”

It comes after Deputy First Minister John Swinney said that, while Scottish ministers have “high confidence” in the nation’s tier coronavirus measures system, it would be “foolish” to not consider imposing another countrywide lockdown.

But he highlighted that Scotland’s earlier prevention meant it was “in general in a stronger situation than prevails in England”.

He added that in Scotland “we are seeing the rate of increase being reduced, we are seeing some early signs that the virus may be flattening out”.

The Scottish Government began introducing restrictions in September and rules for hospitality businesses the following month.

Speaking to the BBC, he said: “The time that we have taken to bear down on the virus over the course of the last two months has put us in general in a stronger situation than prevails in England today.”

He added: “We have taken early steps to try to stem the increase of coronavirus based on the scientific advice that was given to us, and have acted promptly. But I cannot rule out the possibility of further measures, or indeed a national lockdown being required, should the circumstances arise.”

Mr Swinney said: “We hope the measures we have taken so far, the levels system, the restrictions we have put in place, tough though they are, will be enough to ensure that we can avoid a national lockdown, but it must remain one of the possibilities that exist for us.”

He said ministers “have got great confidence in the levels system that we have taken forward, because there is very significant difference in the prevalence of coronavirus in general in Scotland compared to England and a very significant difference between different parts of Scotland”.

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