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Nicola Sturgeon says Scotland's lockdown could be tougher to save Christmas


Nicola Sturgeon says Scotland's lockdown could get tougher to save Christmas as she warns coronavirus hotspots that they could be dunked to the top level 4 to save the festive season

  • She said areas where cases remain "persistently high" could be classified at level 4
  • The press conference move would be a short, sharp hit to reduce the number of cases
  • The First Minister said her cabinet would make decisions in the morning

Nicola Sturgeon warned Scotland's coronavirus hotspots as she tries to save Christmas.

The Prime Minister said some areas where cases remain "persistently high" could be placed in Level 4 if a decision is made tomorrow that would close all non-essential businesses and services.

In her daily television press conference, she said such a move would be a short, sharp hit to reduce the number of cases. This would better adapt parts of Scotland to the lockdown currently in progress in England.

"A stubbornly high prevalence means we may have less flexibility to cautiously relax restrictions over the Christmas season, which we love to do," she said.

"Moving to Level 4 restrictions for a limited period of time in some areas is not a decision we would ever make lightly because of its greater economic and social impact, but it would help address both of these concerns."

The First Minister said her cabinet would make decisions on changes tomorrow morning before making a statement to Holyrood that afternoon.

The Prime Minister said some areas where cases remain "persistently high" could be placed in Level 4 if a decision is made tomorrow that would close all non-essential businesses and services

Ms. Sturgeon said officials are considering whether current restrictions are bringing coronavirus rates down in some areas fast enough

Ms. Sturgeon said officials are considering whether the current restrictions are bringing coronavirus rates down fast enough in some areas, "particularly in parts of west Scotland where the virus is stable but still stubbornly high".

No decision on Welsh Christmas yet

Wales "still has a long way to go" before figuring out what coronavirus rules will apply for Christmas, its health minister said.

Vaughan Gething told reporters that it was possible that families could meet across borders in the coming days or weeks. Talks between the decentralized administrations and Westminster are ongoing.

He said a recent reduction in Covid-19 cases in Wales after the 17-day hiatus could "easily be reversed" making it difficult to make a decision about what Christmas will be like.

He told the Welsh Government press conference in Cardiff: “Whatever happens to Christmas and the festive season this year, it will not be as normal.

“We are still debating issues about where to travel with other governments across the UK and we are still examining the evidence of what we can do about outreach.

"But it depends on the picture we'll see in the evolving evidence in the coming weeks. So you shouldn't expect there to be a definitive testimony in the next few days or weeks."

Today Public Health Wales announced that there had been an additional 892 cases of coronavirus in Wales, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 67,106. Two more deaths have also been reported, bringing the total in Wales since the pandemic started to 2,209.

Ms. Sturgeon said officials are considering whether the current restrictions are bringing coronavirus rates down fast enough in some areas, "particularly in parts of west Scotland where the virus is stable but still persistent".

She spoke of the problem when she revealed that Scotland has had six coronavirus deaths and 717 positive cases in the past 24 hours.

The Prime Minister told the Scottish Government's coronavirus briefing on Monday that the persistently high rates are a cause for concern as it does not provide the level of security that regional hospital and critical care services can cope with over the course of the winter.

She said it was her "aim and intention" to keep schools open, adding, "We don't take school safety issues lightly."

The Prime Minister said she has asked adults to wear more restrictions to ensure schools can stay open for face-to-face teaching.

She added, "Young people have already had months outside of school this year and if we can avoid this at all we want to make sure they don't have any more time outside of normal full-time school."

Ms. Sturgeon also announced that a local authority will have fewer restrictions in Tuesday's announcement.

Urging people to adhere to local policies, Ms. Sturgeon said, “Every time we stop someone, especially someone who is older and more vulnerable, we give them the chance to live into the era that is on the horizon and where there are better therapies, vaccines, tests and treatments will be available.

“I think it's important to consider motivation as we are currently living under these limitations.

"The end is not quite with us yet, but we can see hope on the horizon now as we couldn't see it just a few weeks ago."

She gave another update on the daily coronavirus numbers, saying the number of positive cases in the past 24 hours is lower than expected and is currently being investigated.

The daily positivity rate for tests is 8.3 percent versus 7.2 percent on Sundays. Of the new cases, 220 are in Greater Glasgow and Clyde, 136 in Lanarkshire and 101 in Lothian.

There are 1,227 people in the hospital who have been confirmed to have the virus, a decrease of 14 in 24 hours.

Of these patients, 98 are in intensive care, two fewer.

The death toll of people who tested positive for the virus for the first time in the past 28 days is now 3,286.

Scotland's Level 0-4 System, How It Works:

Level 0

As close as possible to normal. Broadly in line with the situation in Scotland in August when the virus was suppressed but is still there.

At this level, eight people from three households can meet indoors, and most organizations would use open security measures.

Level 1

Household gatherings were reduced to six from two households, but overall a reasonable level of normality.

Level 2

Restrictions on hospitality and no gatherings in people's homes.

level 3

Much of the hospitality is closed completely. But restaurants can be "at least partially" open.

Level 4.

Closer to a complete lockdown, with non-essential businesses closed. But six people from up to two households could still meet outdoors, there would be no limit to outdoor movement for individuals, manufacturing and construction companies would remain open with security measures in place.

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