Nicola Sturgeon has admitted banning Scots from visiting each other’s homes is a ‘step backwards’ but insisted her tough lockdown will stop Covid ‘spiralling out of control’.
The First Minister addressed the nation after she announced a ban on indoor household visits and a curfew for pubs and restaurants.
It came as part of a package of measures to try to stop coronavirus from ‘spiralling out of control’ in Scotland.
Ms Sturgeon said: ‘The last six months have been unprecedented. They’ve been the hardest many of us have ever lived through.
‘But through our collective efforts across Scotland, we did beat Covid back. As a result – although too much heartbreak has been endured and too many families are grieving – many lives were also saved.
‘But as we enter winter, and with many lockdown restrictions now thankfully lifted, the challenge is once again getting harder.’
She added: ‘Now, for everyone, adults and children, I know that today must feel like a step backwards.
‘But please know that thanks to all your efforts over the last six months, we are in a much stronger position than in the spring.
‘Cases are rising but less rapidly than back then. Our Test and Protect system is working well – tracing contacts and breaking chains of transmission.
‘We have much more information on how and where the virus spreads. We know what we need to do to protect ourselves and others – and all of us have a part to play.’
The First Minister addressed the nation after she announced a ban on indoor household visits and a curfew for pubs and restaurants
In addition to the ban on visiting others inside their homes, she said there will be a ‘strict nationwide curfew’ for pubs and restaurants, starting at 10pm on Friday.
People are also advised not to share car journeys with anyone from outside their household.
Regulations enforcing the changes will come into place from Friday, but Ms Sturgeon urged Scots to comply from Wednesday.
Some have questioned why pubs are still open when cases of the virus are spreading rapidly – 383 more people have tested positive in Scotland in the last 24 hours, with one further death.
But the First Minister said the Scottish Government has a duty to balance action to curb the virus with the need to protect businesses.
She earlier announced the ban on Scots visiting each other in their own homes – starting tomorrow – as she reintroduced the more stringent lockdown rules.
She said a ‘high proportion’ of new cases in the country were linked to transmission within private homes where social distancing and ventilation were more difficult.
She spoke to MSPs at Holyrood minutes after Boris Johnson unveiled new lockdown measures in England.
The First Minister said that a ‘high proportion’ of new cases in the country were linked to transmission within private homes where social distancing and ventilation were more difficult than outdoors or public buildings
She spoke to MSPs at Holyrood minutes after Boris Johnson has unveiled new lockdown measures in England, saying that his steps did not go far enough
She said his steps did not go far enough and her advice was it ‘will not be sufficient to bring the R number down’ north of the border.
Addressing reports measures in Scotland could be in place for up to six months, the First Minister said she hoped that would not be the case.
She told MSPs: ‘It is certainly the case, until scientific developments such as a vaccine change the game in the battle against Covid-19, it will have an impact on our lives.
‘That doesn’t necessarily mean that all of the new restrictions I am announcing today will be in place for six months.
‘By acting early and substantially, our hope is that these new measures will be in place for a shorter period than would be the case if we waited longer to act.’
Those living alone, couples not living together, those who need childcare and tradespeople will be exempt from the measures.
The changes only impact meeting in people’s homes, with regulations for outdoor and public indoor meetings remaining the same.
But the First Minister said children under 12 will be exempt from the limit of six people from two households when meeting outside and those between 12 and 18 will be able to meet a limit of six others from six households outdoors.
The new measures put in place for Scotland will be reviewed every three weeks, the First Minister said.
Addressing the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh this afternoon she admitted the changes ‘will not be welcome’.
‘Inevitably, some will think they go too far and others that they don’t go far enough,’ she said.
‘But we have tried to get the balance right – and to act urgently and in a substantial and preventative way now to try to get the situation under control quickly.
‘We judge that this will give us the best chance of avoiding tougher or longer-lasting measures later.
‘But I know that doesn’t make this any easier.
‘Many people, me included, will find not being able to have family and friends in our own homes really difficult – especially as the weather gets colder.’
Ms Sturgeon said that while they are ‘tough’, the new measures ‘are not a lockdown’.
Confirmed coronavirus cases in Scotland have risen by 383 in the past 24 hours, the Scottish Government announced before Ms Sturgeon spoke.
A total of 25,009 people have now tested positive for coronavirus in Scotland. This is 7.6 per cent of newly-tested individuals, up from 6.3 per cent on Monday.
One new death of a confirmed patient has been recorded and the death toll under this measure is now at 2,506.
Of the new cases, 181 are in Greater Glasgow and Clyde, 92 in Lanarkshire and 51 in Lothian.
There are 73 people in hospital confirmed to have the virus, the same as Monday. Of these patients, 10 were in intensive care, a rise of two.
Addressing teenagers specifically, the First Minister said: ‘I know how miserable this is for you and you have been so patient.
‘We are trying to give you as much flexibility as we can. In return, please work with us and do your best to stick to the rules, for everyone’s sake.’
A 10pm curfew will be put in place for hospitality businesses in Scotland, in line with plans for England.
Ms Sturgeon said that the Scottish Government was seeking to strike a balance between reducing the spread of the virus and safeguarding jobs in the industry.
Further resources will also be given to environmental health officials to step up enforcement and inspections to ensure that social distancing and other hygiene guidance were being adhered to.
Ms Sturgeon said: ‘This decision today means we can reduce the amount of time people are able to spend in licensed premises, thereby curtailing the spread of the virus while still allowing businesses to trade and provide jobs.’
‘This is the best balance for now.’