Nicola Sturgeon set to plunge Scotland into lockdown TONIGHT with ‘stay at home’ order or face fine

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NICOLA Sturgeon will today announce a full lockdown across Scotland from midnight amid soaring virus cases.

There will be a legal stay-at-home order from 12am – just like last March – with £60 minimum fines for breaches.

Nicola Sturgeon will order the country into another lockdown from tonight

Similar “reasonable excuses” for leaving home will apply, such as for shopping or exercise.

Schools across Scotland will be closed until at least the start of February, sources said.

And there will be a legal limit of two adults from different households meeting outdoors, as with the first national lockdown.

However, it’s expected that unlike March to May last year, children from separate households will still be able to play together outdoors, and playparks will stay open.

However, in Wales the Government is still planning for schools across the country “to open in a flexible way”, health minister Vaughan Gething said earlier.

But he told a press conference: “If we get evidence and advice today, then that’s evidence and advice we may well need to act upon today or tomorrow.

“We need to see the evidence and advice first rather than taking an approach that will lead to more panic and more lack of understanding.

It comes as Boris Johnson is under pressure from SAGE, former health secretary Jeremy Hunt, and Labour boss, Sir Keir Starmer, to take national action across England today.

He said earlier that there was “no question” that extra restrictions were now needed, but refused to be drawn on what that might be.

The PM is expected to have meetings with his top team later today to try and decide what action to take.

It came as:

  • An 82-year-old man became the first person to get the Oxford AstraZeneca jab this morning as the new vaccine was rolled out to hospitals
  • Boris Johnson has told primary kids to return to schools today if they are open – but thousands of places have stayed shut in Tier 4 areas across the country
  • Education unions said staff were at “serious risk” of infection by returning to schools and called on the Prime Minister to meet to discuss safety
  • Hospitals across the country are filling up with more Covid patients – with now a quarter more people needing treatment there than in the first wave
  • Covid deaths passed 75,000 as 454 more people die in highest Sunday rise since May & 54,990 new infections recorded
  • CMO Chris Whitty was spotted at No10 today for talks with senior officials

The First Minister will update the nation with her latest plans to combat the coronavirus north of the border at 2pm.

She is recalling Parliament in Scotland too to discuss the plans.

Scotland recorded 2464 new Covid-19 cases in the last 24 hours, up from the day before.

The daily test positivity rate is now at 15.2 per cent – up from 10.8 per cent on Saturday.

 

Matt Hancock hinted earlier today that tier 4 is set to be extended as Tier 3 wasn’t working to stop the spread of the new strain.

And he refused to rule out another lockdown in England if there needed to be one.

The Health Secretary said nothing was off the table as the Government mull new measures to try and crack down on the case numbers – which have reached record highs in the past week.

Mr Johnson said there was “no question” of tougher measures coming “in due course”.

Speaking during a visit to Chase Farm Hospital in north London to meet some of the first people to receive the Oxford vaccine on Monday Mr Johnson said there were “tough tough” weeks to come.

He admitted that people have become “impatient” and “frustrated” with the rules – but he begged them to obey them until the vaccine can be rolled out further.

The PM admitted he was waiting until the impact of the Tier 4 rules could be seen, which was “a bit unclear at the moment” – and will be keen to see the impact of Christmas Day mixing rules being relaxed.

And he suggested that secondary schools might have to stay closed in order to keep primaries open, but stressed that the risk to teachers was no greater than other lines of work.

Boris Johnson is set to plunge more areas into Tier 4 - and mull other national measures

Boris Johnson is set to plunge more areas into Tier 4 – and mull other national measures
Chris Whitty at No10 Downing Street today
Chris Whitty at No10 Downing Street today

Boris will meet officials to decide whether the mutant strain of coronavirus surging through the country will mean a return to a March-style lockdown, with schools shut, non-essential shops shuttered and most travel banned.

Additional restrictions – dubbed Tier 5 – are also being considered, but ministers say there are no current plans for an additional official Tier.

Government sources have played down the prospect of a national curfew or restrictions on exercising outside, but have warned the rules may last for months to come.

The Government’s Covid-O committee, which makes decisions on restrictions, will meet in the coming days, and Mr Hancock has stressed the data is being looked at daily.

And officials are worried too about another new strain of the virus which has come from South Africa – which spreads even faster than that.