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First Minister Announces Extension Of Current Lockdown Restrictions Into February

Alice Lorenzato-Lloyd Alice Lorenzato-Lloyd - Staff Writer

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The stay at home order will continue until at least mid-February.

The First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has announced that the current lockdown restrictions including the stay at home message will remain in place until at least the middle of February. In a statement to Holyrood this afternoon, the Scottish minister outlined the extension to the measures, including schools and nurseries across Scotland remaining closed until mid-February.

Nicola Sturgeon said that community transmission is too high and is likely to remain so for the next period, to allow a safe return to school on February 1. The next review on whether there will be any changes to restrictions is expected to take place on February 2.

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“In short, we are still in a very precarious position,” she said. However, she added that there are some signs for optimism and the sacrifices everyone continues to make are having an impact. The First Minister reported that the number of coronavirus cases in Scotland appear to have stabilised and even declined. In the week to 14th January, there was an average of around 1,900 confirmed cases per day, which was an 18% reduction on the previous week.

Scotland has also seen a slight decline in test positivity, as well as the number of cases per 100,000 of the population. The First Minister said this data was encouraging and “a signal that the lockdown restrictions are working”, however she reiterated that it is important to be cautious.

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Nicola Sturgeon said: “Any relaxation of lockdown could quickly send the situation into reverse, especially with the faster spreading variant being more dominant. The incubation period and the infectious path of the variant means pressure on the NHS continues to increase even after cases start to decline.

“And that pressure is already acute. So the pressure the NHS is facing right now is real and severe and it is, of course, having a significant consequential impact on non-Covid elective care.”

The government has reported that there around 30% more Covid patients in hospital compared to the first wave last April. The number of patients in intensive care has also increased by more than 90% since the turn of the year.

SEE ALSO: Here’s Everything You Can And Can’t Do During Scotland’s Lockdown

Alongside an update on the current lockdown restrictions, the First Minister also announced that the island of Barra and Vatersay, which is connected by a causeway, will move from level three to level four from midnight tonight following a significant outbreak.

Nicola Sturgeon stated that 1165 new cases of coronavirus have been reported today. However, she also reported that 284,582 people, including 90% of care home residents, have now received their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccination. The news comes as a new walk-in Covid-19 testing site has opened 10 miles outside of Glasgow in Paisley town centre.

The First Minister told the Scottish parliament: “We estimate that between 15% and 20% have already had the first dose and we are on track for all over-80s – and everyone else in JCVI groups 1 & 2 – to have been offered the first dose by the start of February.” Based on the government’s predicted rate in which the vaccine will be rolled out, Nicola Sturgeon said that around three million people in total  will have received at least the first dose of the vaccine in three months’ time.

You can find the guidance on stay home regulations here.

Read more: NHS Louisa Jordan In Glasgow Will Transform Into A Mass Covid-19 Vaccination Centre