Scotland will put 11 areas under the country’s toughest coronavirus restrictions from 6pm on Friday, Nicola Sturgeon has announced.
The First Minister confirmed the council areas moving to Level 4 are the City of Glasgow, Renfrewshire, East Renfrewshire, East Dunbartonshire, West Dunbartonshire, North Lanarkshire, South Lanarkshire, East Ayrshire, South Ayrshire, Stirling and West Lothian.
Announcing the change, Ms Sturgeon said: ‘In all of these areas, there are grounds for continued and significant concern.’
She said the Level 4 restrictions will be in place for three weeks and will be lifted on December 11.
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The FM said the ‘short and sharp’ restrictions were intended to have an impact ahead of Christmas.
She told MSPs: ‘I know people are frustrated that other restrictions have remained in place longer than planned.
‘But Level 4 is intended to be short and sharp. And in this situation, it is specifically intended to have an impact in advance of Christmas and the most challenging winter period.
‘Lifting the Level 4 restrictions then – as we will do – also means that they will not be in place for most of the Hanukkah period – so again, while celebrations may be different, there will be a greater degree of freedom.’
Ms Sturgeon also warned Scots against travelling to areas where the virus is less prevalent.
Travel restrictions will be placed into law from Friday, meaning movement into and away from Level 3 and Level 4 areas will be against the law.
Ms Sturgeon said: ‘To put it bluntly – and we will require to monitor this – if we see evidence that people from East or South Ayrshire are visiting places in North Ayrshire, or that people from Glasgow are going to Inverclyde, we would have no choice but to put these areas in Level 4 too.
‘So it is essential that we all abide by travel restrictions.’
The FM added: ‘To underline how important this is, I can confirm that the guidance that has been in place in recent weeks will become law from Friday.’
Meanwhile, East Lothian and Midlothian will move to Level 2 in the Scottish lockdown system.
Ms Sturgeon said the two areas have seen a ‘marked decline’ in the prevalence of the virus.
She added: ‘On that basis, assuming no significant deterioration before then, I can confirm that East Lothian and Midlothian will move from Level 3 to Level 2 from next Tuesday 24 November.
‘Between now and then, the local authorities will be able to undertake necessary environmental health and compliance checks, and work with NHS Lothian to minimise any risk of increased transmission that the move to Level 2 will bring.’
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