Covid lockdown: Scotland's new rules are tough but necessary – Scotsman comment

The ‘stay-at-home’ order imposed on mainland Scotland amid rising concern – and rising numbers of cases – about the new strain of Covid-19 will be tough, particularly given all the recent good news about effective vaccines.

Nicola Sturgeon announced a legal requirement to stay at home, except for essential reasons, following a surge in the number of Covid-19 cases (Picture: Andrew Milligan/pool/AFP via Getty Images)
Nicola Sturgeon announced a legal requirement to stay at home, except for essential reasons, following a surge in the number of Covid-19 cases (Picture: Andrew Milligan/pool/AFP via Getty Images)

This, coupled with the idea of the new year bringing a fresh start, had brought new hope that lifted the spirits of many but may also have prompted some to lower their guard.

However, the situation is now clearly extremely serious and so drastic action is warranted to buy time for people to be vaccinated.

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According to a brief report published by the Scottish government on the state of the epidemic in Scotland, the new more infectious strain of the virus now accounts for nearly half of all cases in Scotland and it is expected to increase further.

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"In the week up to 4 January, we have seen a step change in the incidence and prevalence of the virus, which we anticipate will lead to increased hospital admissions and mortality... Average daily case numbers have almost doubled to around 2,200 confirmed new cases per day over the past week,” the report said.

It suggested Scotland was about four weeks behind London and south-east England, which saw infection rates rise, respectively, by more than five and nearly four times over December. That is a vision of our future unless further restrictions are imposed.

And for anyone still thinking this is a disease that only kills the frail and elderly, under-pressure NHS staff in London have been warning that they are starting to see more people aged 30 and 35 in intensive care.

Failing to act would be a shocking betrayal of the primary duty of any government – to safeguard the lives of all of its citizens. So the Scottish government had little choice but to toughen the lockdown. It is a political decision, but it should not be seen as a party political one.

As for the public, we have no other option but to get on with it, to observe the rules, knowing that they are designed to save lives, to make the best of a bad situation, and to look after ourselves and each other.

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