Scotland set for strict TWO-MONTH lockdown until March – Covid cases spiral out of control

Sturgeon says new variant is ‘dominant’ in Scotland

The First Minister said it was very “very unlikely” current Covid curbs would be lifted at the end of the month. Nicola Sturgeon’s Cabinet had discussions throughout Tuesday over whether to introduce stricter laws and the First Minister is due to update Holyrood on Wednesday.

It comes as health boards across Scotland warned the need for hospital beds was increasing at a rapid rate with no signs cases were coming down.

NHS Lanarkshire is currently treating 288 people for COVID-19, 16 of whom are currently in ICU and it’s boss warned patient number could double.

Judith Park, director of acute services for NHS Lanarkshire, said: “The current pandemic has had an additional impact on our services.

“The hospitals are full and the numbers of Covid-19 admissions are increasing.

“We currently have nearly 300 patients being treated for Covid-19 in our hospitals, with additional patients currently waiting on test results.

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“However, we are anticipating this number to double within a week, putting our hospitals under severe pressure.”

It came as food and drink bosses issued an eleventh-hour plea for takeaways to be allowed to stay open.

They said a crackdown would remove one of the “few chinks of light” for businesses which have seen trade decimated by the pandemic.

Parts of the new measures are expected to see Food to go, click-and-collect services, building sites and factories face closure.

Speaking at yesterday’s COVID-19 briefing, Ms Sturgeon said: “We will review the current lockdown which is in place until at least the end of January. We haven’t completed that yet when we do I will set that out.

“I wouldn’t want to raise expectations that we will lift all of these restrictions at the end of January, I think it is very unlikely we will have a wholesale lifting of these restrictions and there may not even be any lifting of these restrictions as soon as the end of January.

“We will have to consider all of that carefully and set that out in due course.”

Asking Scots to abide by the measures, she added: “I feel your pain. We’re all thoroughly scunnered with this.

“This is something we’ve got to do to keep ourselves safe, to keep the people we love safe.

“I cannot stand here right now and give a date as to when these restrictions will be lifted.

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“It would be trying to just tell people when they want to hear it as opposed to rooting my message in reality.”

A Scottish Government source added: “all options were on the table” in terms of extending lockdown measures.

They added to “The current situation is of serious concern right now at all levels.”

Health Secretary Jeane Freeman also refused to rule out the prospect of a three-month lockdown after government adviser Professor Devi Sridhar said current curbs should be extended for such a period.

One of Scotland’s top medical advisers also said it is “not appropriate” for people to meet for coffee.

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Professor Jason Leitch, Scotland’s National Clinical Director, said: “If you’re arranging to meet someone for coffee, that’s not appropriate for where we are in the pandemic.

“That’s not where we are just now. I’m really, really sorry but you should only leave the house for essential reasons.”

Scottish Government figures revealed that the number of deaths among those who tested positive for Covid in the previous 28 days increased by 54, to 5,023.

The total number of cases that were reported yesterday was 17,517, and this represented 12 percent of all tests reported.

The number of patients in hospital with the virus increased by 53, to 1,717, while those in intensive care increased by seven, to 133.


However, food business chiefs have expressed anger at the potential for take-aways to be closed in an angry letter to Scottish ministers.

The group, led by Scottish the Scottish Retail Consortium claimed they had not seen “any data or public health evidence as to why takeaway services are a risk”.

They added: “As such, forced closure seems somewhat arbitrary and marginal in terms of contributing to the suppression of the virus – not least as the new ‘stay at home’ order has just come into effect and is substantially reducing footfall.

“It’s very difficult for businesses to plan in any sense when government announcements emerge without warning, providing a metaphorical damoclean sword above any business trading right now.” 

Maurice Golden MSP, Scottish Tories Economy Spokesperson, said: “Businesses have had to suffer enough throughout this pandemic without the SNP Government bringing in additional draconian rules simply on a whim rather than through proper and certified data.

 “There is also the very real risk that any changes to the rules could see a rapid surge in people attending supermarkets which would bring new challenges. 

“If proof can be provided that limiting these services can help save lives, then the SNP Government will need to offer extra funding to support the businesses hit and ensure it is delivered in an efficient fashion.” 

Additional Reporting by Tom Martin, Scottish Express Political Editor

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