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Scotland's lockdown extended until the middle of February

Fraser Bremner/Scottish Daily Mail/PA Wire/PA Images

Scotland's lockdown extended until the middle of February

Scotland's lockdown will remain in place until at least the middle of February, the First Minister has confirmed.

Schools and nurseries will remain closed - except for vulnerable and key worker children - until the same time, Nicola Sturgeon added.

While there are signs restrictions are beginning to have an impact and coronavirus case numbers are stabilising, Sturgeon said they "remain very high".

The pressure the NHS is facing was described as "real and severe" - with 1,989 COVID patients receiving treatment in hospital - and is expected to rise for a further period yet.

The First Minister said: "All of that means we cannot afford to see the rate of infection start to rise again, which from such a high baseline it could all too easily do, if we start to interact more with each other than we are doing right now.

"So it is for all these reasons that the cabinet decided this morning to maintain the restrictions which are currently in place.

"That means that the lockdown restrictions - including the strict stay at home requirement - will remain in place across mainland Scotland and some island communities until at least the middle of February.

"Cabinet will review the situation again on 2 February."

The islands of Barra and Vatersay will be moved into the top level of restrictions at midnight due to an outbreak there.

Sturgeon said of the community: "There is a significant concern that without additional measures the outbreak could spread more widely across the Western Isles and there is also concern about the potential impact on care home and clinical services."

Read the most recent article written by Jack Thomson - Restarting the engine: The future of transport in a post-pandemic Scotland

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