Scotland will launch a new lockdown instructing people to stay home in January to deal with the escalating Covid-19 crisis, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has said.
Ms Sturgeon told the Scottish Parliament that there will be a legal requirement for people to stay home from midnight onwards, except for essential purposes, similar to the lockdown put in place at the start of the pandemic last March.
Ms. Sturgeon said schools will be closed for most students through February, which means an additional two weeks of home study for most students.
The Scottish government had already announced that the festive break would last until 11th. January to extend. The ministers had originally planned that by 18. January to study remotely.
However, schools are still open to children of key workers who cannot work from home, as well as to vulnerable young people.
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson is under increasing pressure to announce immediate new coronavirus lockdown measures in England, where he has admitted that « no question » tougher measures were required.
The UK government hopes the introduction of the Oxford / AstraZeneca vaccine will change the course of the fight against coronavirus.
The latest data shows that the number of confirmed coronavirus patients in hospital in England between Christmas and May 3. January rose 41%. These numbers raised the alarm.
« If you look at the numbers, there is no question that we need to take stricter measures and we will announce them in due course, » Johnson said during a visit to Chase Farm Hospital in north London.
With 78% of the English population already subject to the strictest restrictions currently in place, ministers are examining how successful the 20th. Tier 4 measures first came into force on December 31st.
The introduction of Oxford / AstraZeneca’s vaccine, which is easier to distribute than Pfizer / BioNTech’s other approved vaccine, could provide a way out of further bans, but it could take months for sufficient numbers to get their first shot.
Ministers have stated that the NHS is able to deliver two million doses of the Oxford vaccine per week, but supplies are limited.
While as of today around 530. 000 doses are to be available, the Department of Health and Social Welfare (DHSC) said an additional ten million doses will be delivered in the coming weeks and months once the batches have been quality checked.
Mr Johnson said, « We have the capacity, the problem is the delivery of the vaccine.
Mr Johnson said « the risk for children is very, very small » and « the risk for teachers is no greater than for others ». .
Education unions have urged the government to « pause » returns to the classroom until the safety of staff and students can be ensured.
Dr. Mike Tildesley, a member of the SPI-M modeling group that advises the government, warned that closing schools wouldn’t be enough to bring the R-number – the rate of reproduction of the virus – below one without bettering the public adheres to it further restrictions.
Mr Johnson urged the public to abide by the rules in their area despite the frustration the restrictions caused.
« We will do everything we can to keep the virus under control and people should have no doubt that the government will do whatever is necessary, » said the Prime Minister.
« But I have to emphasize at this critical moment that it is so important that people remain disciplined. «
In London, one of the first areas to introduce Tier 4, fall rates are highest in England.
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Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon, Coronavirus, Lockdown, Scottish Government, Scottish Parliament
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