Watch: COVID-19 - Eleven local authorities to be placed into Scotland's highest level of restrictions
Nicola Sturgeon has announced that parts of Scotland will move into the strictest local lockdown tier after flare-ups across the country.
In a statement to MSPs at Holyrood on Tuesday, the first minister revealed that 11 local council areas will move from Level 3 to Level 4 restrictions from 6pm on Friday onwards.
The council areas moving to Level 4 are; the City of Glasgow, Renfrewshire, East Renfrewshire, East Dunbartonshire, West Dunbartonshire, North Lanarkshire, South Lanarkshire, East Ayrshire, South Ayrshire, Stirling and West Lothian.
The restrictions will remain in place for three weeks and will be lifted on 11 December.
Two areas, East Lothian and Midlothian, will move to Level 2 from Level 3 from next Tuesday onwards following a "marked decline" in the prevalence of the virus.
Sturgeon acknowledged that for those in the affected areas the changes would be "disappointing" and will "demand more sacrifice from all of us".
But she added: "In all of these areas, there are grounds for continued and significant concern."
Sturgeon told MSPs the country had been on track to see 3,000 new cases per day but the overall infection rate “remains higher than we need it to be”.
She also revealed the country is on track to pass the “sombre and distressing milestone” of 5,000 deaths since the start of the pandemic this week.
Under Tier 4 rules non-essential shops will be closed, along with bars, restaurants, hairdressers and visitor attractions.
Schools will remain open, however, with the First Minister saying on Monday it is her “objective and intention” to ensure they do not close.
She said the prevalence of the virus is causing concern and could mean regional hospital and intensive care services may not be able to cope as winter continues.
“Stubbornly high prevalence means that we might have less flexibility to offer some limited and careful easing of restrictions over the Christmas period which we are very keen to do,” she said on Monday.
“Moving to Level 4 restrictions for a limited period in some areas, while not a decision we would ever take lightly because of the wider economic and social impact, would help us to address both of these concerns.”
No part of Scotland has been placed in the top level since the tiered system – which ranges from level zero to level four and is reviewed on a weekly basis – came into force on 2 November.
However, there have been concerns that infection rates are not reducing quickly enough – or are continuing to rise – in some of the 22 areas that are currently in level three.
But Scottish Lib Dem leader Willie Rennie urged the First Minister to put the decision before Holyrood in a full debate.
He said: “Level 4 is the equivalent of a lockdown with the closure of most of the high street.
“It is therefore only right that if such a major change is to be implemented it must have the explicit support of the Scottish Parliament.
“That is important as we need full transparency on the reasons for the change to so many people’s lives.”
Since the start of the pandemic there have been 82,000 confirmed coronavirus cases in Scotland and 4,856 deaths have been registered where COVID was mentioned on the death certificate.
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