People living in Scotland’s toughest tiers could be ARRESTED if they try to leave: Nicola Sturgeon makes it ILLEGAL to travel outside of Level 3 and 4 lockdown areas as she plunges 2.3MILLION people in 11 areas into toughest restrictions from Friday
- Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon today announced 11 council areas are being moved into Level Four
- Level Four means a total ban on meeting other households indoors and the closure of all non-essential shops
- The 11 areas, which include city of Glasgow, will be moved into Level Four from Friday, lasting for three weeks
- Ms Sturgeon also announced guidance banning travel in and out of Level Three and Four areas becoming law
- That means it will be illegal from Friday to leave or enter those areas ‘except for certain essential purposes’
The First Minister said the 11 council areas, which includes the city of Glasgow and covers approximately 2.3 million people, will be subject to Level Four restrictions from 6pm on Friday.
People living in Level Four areas are banned from meeting with other households indoors while all non-essential shops must close.
Ms Sturgeon said her message to people in those areas is that they ‘should not be going out and about’ and that the measures will be in place for three weeks, lifting on December 11.
The SNP leader also announced she is making it illegal for people to travel into or out of Level Three and Level Four areas ‘except for certain essential purposes’.
There is already guidance in place which urges people not to make such journeys but Ms Sturgeon said the advice will become law from Friday, raising the prospect of rule-breakers facing enforcement action from the police.
The council areas in Scotland moving to Level Four from Friday are the City of Glasgow, Renfrewshire, East Renfrewshire, East Dunbartonshire, West Dunbartonshire, North Lanarkshire, South Lanarkshire, East Ayrshire, South Ayrshire, Stirling and West Lothian.
Ms Sturgeon said there was ‘grounds for continued and significant concern’ in all of the areas being moved into to Level Four.
As well as the 11 areas being elevated to the top tier, two areas are being moved from Level Three to Level Two while 19 will experience no change.
The tightening of the rules in many areas in Scotland will inevitably lead to increased scrutiny of Boris Johnson’s lockdown plans for England.
The nation-wide shutdown is due to end on December 2 with ministers aiming to move back to a tiered-approach which health officials have suggested is likely to be tougher than the Government’s old three-tier system.
Nicola Sturgeon today announced 11 local authority areas are being moved into the toughest coronavirus level from Friday
Under the Scottish government’s coronavirus restrictions all non-essential shops must close in Level Four areas while travel is restricted to essential journeys only
Which parts of Scotland are subject to which lockdown level?
Level One: Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, Highland, Moray, Orkney Islands, Shetland Islands,
Level Two: Aberdeen City, Aberdeenshire, Argyll and Bute, Dumfries and Galloway, East Lothian (from November 24), Midlothian (from November 24), Scottish Borders,
Level Three: Angus, City of Edinburgh, Clackmannanshire, Dundee City, Falkirk, Fife, Inverclyde, North Ayrshire, Perth and Kinross, Renfrewshire,
Level Four: East Aryshire (from Friday), East Dunbartonshire (from Friday), East Renfrewshire (from Friday), Glasgow City (from Friday), North Lanarkshire (from Friday), Renfrewshire (from Friday), South Ayrshire (from Friday), South Lanarkshire (from Friday) Stirling (from Friday), West Dunbartonshire (from Friday), West Lothian (from Friday)
Ms Sturgeon said the move into Level Four is intended to be ‘short and sharp’ as she set out her hopes that the measures will result in a significant drop in infections which will pave the way for restrictions to be eased at Christmas.
The First Minister told MSPs: ‘I know people are frustrated that other restrictions have remained in place longer than planned.
‘But Level Four 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 Four 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.
‘We will assess nearer the time the level that will apply in each area when the Level Four restrictions end on December 11.’
East Lothian and Midlothian will move from Level Three to Level Two after they recorded a ‘marked decline’ in the prevalence of the virus.
Ms Sturgeon said: ‘On that basis, assuming no significant deterioration before then, I can confirm that East Lothian and Midlothian will move from Level Three to Level Two 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.’
Ms Sturgeon also announced that travel guidance banning people from moving into and out of areas in Level Three and Level Four will be enshrined in law from Friday.
She warned that failing to adhere to the travel ban would likely result in more areas being added to Level Four.
She 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 Four too.
‘So it is essential that we all abide by travel restrictions.’
The First Minister 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.
‘That means people living in Level Three or Level Four must not travel outside their own council area except for certain essential purposes.
‘People living elsewhere in Scotland mustn’t travel to Level Three or Level Four areas except for essential purposes.’
The SNP leader also said there should not be any non-essential travel between Scotland and other parts of the UK.
Ms Sturgeon’s comments immediately prompted questions over how such a travel ban will be enforced.
Under the Scottish government’s coronavirus restrictions people in Level Four areas are not allowed to meet people from other households indoors but they can meet outdoors
It came as Ms Sturgeon said restrictions on household gatherings put in place in recent weeks have helped to control the spread of coronavirus.
She told MSPs the country had been on track to record 3,000 new cases per day if action had not been taken.
She said: ‘Clearly that has not happened. Daily case numbers are almost a third of that.
‘Prevalence in Scotland is at this point also lower than in other UK nations.
‘So we have made progress, but the overall level of infection remains higher than we need it to be. And the national picture is masking significant regional variation.’
Ms Sturgeon warned that infection rates in a number of areas across central Scotland are still ‘significantly above the national average’.
She said many had seen their numbers stabilise but they had done so at a ‘stubbornly high level’.
Ms Sturgeon also revealed that the total number of deaths from Covid-19 in Scotland will pass 5,000 this week.