Watch: Scotland lockdown to last until mid-February
Scotland’s first minister Nicola Sturgeon on Tuesday announced an extension to the country’s coronavirus lockdown, saying restrictions would remain in place until at least the middle of February.
Speaking in Scottish Parliament, Sturgeon said the cabinet had decided to extend the current measures, which include a “stay-at-home” order.
"Any relaxation of lockdown while case numbers, even though they might be declining, nevertheless remain very high, could quickly send the situation into reverse,” she said.
Mainland Scotland was placed into lockdown on January 4 to tackle the rising spread of the new coronavirus strain.
When Scotland’s lockdown was first announced, the number of positive cases had risen to a new record high every day in 2021, hitting 2,464. Today, 1,165 new cases of COVID-19 were registered in Scotland, representing 11.1% of tests carried out.
Sturgeon said she hoped strict lockdown measures would not last for much longer but said face coverings would be required “for some time.”
The extension dims the already poor outlook for the UK’s short-term economic performance. Scotland is the second largest contributor to UK GDP, although its economic clout is much smaller than England’s.
The economic impact of lockdown has been crippling for UK businesses. The government has been forced to step in to support firms and workers and companies have been calling for extensions to support schemes which are due to end in the spring.
In a letter to chancellor Rishi Sunak this week, the UK’s leading business group outlined demands for an extension to the furlough scheme and calls for business rates relief in England to be extended. The letter said action was needed ahead of March’s budget to help protect companies through the Spring.
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