Sturgeon is set to announce new Scotland COVID crackdown

Scotland could close PUBS in lockdown announcement today: Sturgeon will unveil new curbs amid warnings outbreak could peak again in just TWO WEEKS after surge in COVID cases – with fears the rest of the UK will follow soon

  • Nicola Sturgeon announcing new Covid restrictions for Scotland this afternoon
  • First Minister expected to impose restrictions on pubs, and potentially closures
  • Fears the rest of the UK will have to follow soon as cases rise towards a new peak

Scots are facing the prospect of even tougher restrictions on pubs and restaurants amid fears coronavirus is spiralling out of control.

Nicola Sturgeon is set to unveil a dramatic new squeeze this afternoon, expected to include swingeing curbs on the hospitality sector and local travel.

The move – which she has stressed will not amount to a full lockdown as happened in March – comes after the First Minister received ‘very strong’ advice about the need to respond to a surge in infections.

The action could be an indication of looming curbs in England, with Boris Johnson under huge pressure to tighten the rules despite a growing Tory revolt over civil liberties infringements and damage to the economy.

Experts have warned that the current outbreak across the UK could match the March peak by the end of October unless ‘drastic’ steps are taken. Some are pushing for a short ‘circuit breaker’ lockdown at school half-term or ban on households mixing to break the chains of transmission.

At her daily briefing yesterday, Ms Sturgeon said Infections were beginning to spread from younger sections of the population to older age groups.

The average number of daily cases has risen from 285 two weeks ago – when a ban on households mixing indoors was introduced – to 729.

Nicola Sturgeon (pictured at the Scottish Parliament last week) is set to unveil a dramatic new squeeze this afternoon, expected to include swingeing curbs on the hospitality sector and local travel

The average number of daily cases has risen from 285 two weeks ago – when a ban on households mixing indoors was introduced – to 729

The hospitality sector has voiced alarm at the idea of a crackdown, warning it could devastate jobs (Glasgow pub pictured this summer)

The First Minister has described the situation as ‘the most difficult decision point we have faced so far’.

However, the closure of schools has been ruled out, as have Scotland-wide travel restrictions.

There will be no requirement for people to stay inside their homes most of the time, as was the case in March, though some additional measures in ‘hotspot’ areas might be necessary.

Speaking at the daily coronavirus briefing, the First Minister said she was receiving ‘very strong’ public health advice that new measures were needed in response to rising Covid-19 cases.

Ms Sturgeon added: ‘The situation is not out of control, but it is a cause of increasing concern.’

The announcement will follow a cabinet meeting on Wednesday morning when details of the new restrictions will be decided.

The hospitality sector has voiced alarm at the idea of a crackdown, warning it could devastate jobs.

Emma McClarkin, of the Scottish Beer & Pub Association, said: ‘If the Scottish Government is to implement further harsh restrictive measures to our sector, it must include a dedicated package of support alongside it.

‘Without it, the Scottish Government will leave our pubs and thousands of jobs doomed to failure.’

Professor Hugh Pennington, emeritus professor of bacteriology at the University of Aberdeen, said a targeted approach would work better than bringing in ‘more draconian rules’.

‘At the moment we do not need to bring in any more rules that will hammer the hospitality sector, or the economy at large. There needs to be a razor-sharp focus on getting the current systems running smoothly and effectively,’ he wrote in The Sun.

‘We need to hold our nerve, rather than hitting the panic button.’

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