Following confirmation that the new variant of COVID-19 spreads much quicker, the First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced that Scotland needs to act now.
The First Minister announced the following rules:
- The easing of restrictions will now only be limited to Christmas Day, not the previous 5 days that were planned
- Legal household limits will still apply – maximum of 8 people from 3 households. Where possible, people should celebrate Christmas in their own household and meet with others outside.
- Travel between Scotland and the rest of the UK will be illegal, other than for specific exemptions
- Travel within Scotland will be allowed on Christmas Day
- From Boxing day, all of Scotland will have Level 4 restrictions applied, including the closure of non-essential retail and hospitality. The only exemptions being Orkney, Shetland and the Western Isles, and other island communities where restrictions have been reduced in recent weeks, will be placed in Level 3
All these measures will be kept under regular review.
The First Minister said:
“Last week it was confirmed that a new variant of the virus had been identified in the UK, and I advised Parliament that a small number of cases of it had already been identified in Scotland.
“While further analysis is required to establish this one way or another, we already have a concern that this strain may be driving what appears to be faster transmission in some hospitals and care homes.
“That’s why we have decided to act and to act firmly.”