Scotland will remain in lockdown until at least the end of February, the First Minister has announced.
The ‘stay at home’ message will remain law in level-four areas and non-essential shops will stay closed, along with pubs and restaurants.
Schools in Scotland will return on a phased basis from February 22 subject to final confirmation in two weeks’ time.
Nicola Sturgeon also announced plans to introduce a managed quarantine requirement for anyone who arrives directly into Scotland, regardless of which country they have come from.
In an update to MSPs at Holyrood on Tuesday, Sturgeon said progress had been made in the fight against the virus as a result of compliance with lockdown restrictions.
She said “continued caution” was needed, but added that there could be some “gradual easing” from the start of March.
The First Minister said: “If our progress continues, then I am cautiously optimistic that, as more and more people get vaccinated and with the protection of some of the additional measures that I will cover shortly, we may be able to begin looking towards a careful and gradual easing around the start of March.”
An update will be given in two weeks.
Sturgeon stated that Covid-19 prevalence in Scotland has fallen under the lockdown regulations.
The First Minister stated that Covid cases went from 302 per 100,000 in the week ending January 8 to 136 last week.
She said: “Test positivity has also reduced. In the seven days up to January 29 it averaged 6.6% – still higher, but closer than it has been in recent weeks to the 5% that the WHO consider to be indicative of an outbreak being under control.
“Pressure on our NHS continues to be severe. The number of Covid patients being treated in hospital remains around 30% above the high point of the first wave last April.
“However, hospital admissions in this wave appear to have peaked on January 12.
“They have now stabilised and are starting to reduce, albeit slowly.”
Travellers coming to Scotland from any country may be asked to quarantine in a hotel.
The First Minister said a system of “managed quarantine” would be put in place for anyone arriving directly to Scotland, going further than systems announced in the rest of the UK.
She said: “The firm view of the Scottish Government is that in order to minimise the risk of new strains coming into the country, managed quarantine must be much more comprehensive.
“I can therefore confirm today that we intend to introduce a managed quarantine requirement for anyone who arrives directly into Scotland, regardless of which country they have come from.”
The First Minister also said that she could not “unilaterally” impose such restrictions on people landing elsewhere in the UK and travelling to Scotland, but hoped the other administrations would work with the Scottish Government to reduce the number of people doing so.
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