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Most of Scotland will be closed again from Boxing Day, and the proposed easing of restrictions this Christmas has been lifted amid concerns about the rapid spread of a new strain of Covid-19

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said yesterday that Christmas Day was coming – but asked people to use the flexibility to visit others only when they “really, really have to”

She admitted the measures were harsh and said the announcement “made her cry” – but said it was necessary to prevent the virus from spreading

A total of 17 cases of the new strain of coronavirus have been discovered in Scotland so far, which have been shown to be up to 70% more transmissible, with fears that this could lead to faster transmission of the virus in some hospitals and nursing homes

Between the 23 and 27 By December easing measures were set across the UK Now shuffling households is only allowed on Christmas Day

A ban on travel between Scotland and other parts of the UK, except for essential purposes, will remain in place Sturgeon said she would speak to police and transport companies to see how this measure can be “strengthened”

The entire Scottish mainland will enter Level 4 – the toughest of the restrictions – for three weeks from one minute after midnight on Boxing Day morning for three weeks. Non-essential businesses will be closed, as will cafes, restaurants and hairdressers

Island communities like Orkney, Shetland, and the Western Isles will switch to Level 3

Schools will open to key workers as usual, but the majority of students will be open on November 11th January not return and only on 18 January learn online

Sturgeon said steps have been taken to prevent more of the new strain from entering Scotland from parts of the UK where it is widespread and to prevent it from spreading further in Scotland

She said, “The five-day flexibility from Jan. until 27 December was planned to see the effects of loneliness and difficulties that I know we all feel like leaving our loved ones alone for Christmas

“However, earlier this week we recommended that people should meet with other households in the house no longer than one day, if at all, within five days

“Given the concerns we now have about this new strain, we now intend to change the law to only allow indoor blending in a bubble on Christmas Day. Our advice is not to meet other households indoors on Christmas Day either if you can possibly avoid it ”

She added, “When I stand here and say this, I want to cry as I know how harsh that sounds I know how unfair it is

“But this virus is unfair – it doesn’t care about Christmas, it doesn’t care about anything other than spreading as far and wide as possible”And unfortunately that has gotten much better”

The new strain of the virus is “the most serious and potentially dangerous point” since the pandemic began, she said, and without firm action, it could leave the NHS overwhelmed and more people dying from the virus

However, the mutant strain is not believed to cause any more severe disease, and scientists believe that the vaccines developed should be able to deal with it

Prime Minister Boris Johnson also announced yesterday that the south-east of England will be moved to a new Stage 4 – effectively reverting to the November lockdown rules

In the rest of England, the “bubble” Christmas policy – which allows up to three households to meet during the holiday season – is also severely restricted and only applies on Christmas Day

Johnson said, “In the absence of action, the evidence suggests infections would rise, hospitals would be overwhelmed and many thousands more would lose their lives

“Yes, Christmas this year will be different, very different. We are sacrificing the chance to see our loved ones this Christmas so we have a better chance to save their lives so we can see them at Christmas in the future”

All of Wales has now been banned and festive plans have been canceled for all but Christmas Day.Tighter restrictions have been put forward on concerns over the new strain of the virus December should come into force

Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford said: “The situation is incredibly serious. I cannot exaggerate

“We cannot put people at risk from this new, more virulent strain of coronavirus”

Scotland currently has the UK’s lowest Covid case rate at 112, 6 cases per 100000 inhabitants

This is comparable to 5717 in Wales, 2196 in England and 1749 in Northern Ireland

Yesterday, official figures showed Scotland recorded an additional 41 coronavirus deaths and 572 positive tests in the past 24 hours The test positivity rate fell from 42% to 40%

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World News – GB – ” It makes me cry “: Nicola Sturgeon presents Christmas plans