Scotland on Monday imposed the most stringent COVID-19 lockdown since last March and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he would shortly impose tougher curbs in England to contain a rapidly spreading outbreak of a new variant of the coronavirus.
The United Kingdom has the world’s sixth-highest official coronavirus death toll – 75,024 – and the number of new infections is soaring across the country.
As Johnson mulled tougher measures for England, Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said the new variant accounted for nearly half of new cases in Scotland and is 70% more transmissible.
Scots, she said, would be legally required to stay at home for January from midnight. Schools will close for all but the children of essential workers.
“I am more concerned about the situation that we face now than I have been at any time since March,” Sturgeon told the Scottish parliament.
“As a result of this new variant, (the virus) has just learned to run much faster, and has most definitely picked up pace in the past couple of weeks,” Sturgeon said.