Scotland has woken up to tighter restrictions this morning as a 'stay home' lockdown came into force from midnight. 

The new laws mean people should only be leaving their houses for essential purposes in a bid to prevent any transmission of a new Covid-19 strain.

In an emergency coronavirus briefing, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced the March-style lockdown would protect NHS Scotland from becoming overwhelmed until the coronavirus vaccine is fully rolled out. 

It means schools will also be closed until February with online learning in place. 

Glasgow Times:

READ MORE: Nicola Sturgeon's coronavirus announcement: Full lockdown explained

Ms Sturgeon said: “We are now seeing a steeply rising trend of infections. Indeed, it is no exaggeration to say that I am more concerned about the situation we face now than I have been at any time since March last year.

“As a government our clear duty right now is to act quickly and decisively to safeguard health, save lives and protect the NHS.

“The advice of our clinical advisers is very clear that the increased transmissibility of the new variant means that the current level 4 measures may not be sufficient to bring the R number back below 1.

“It is essential that we further limit interaction between different households to stem the spread and bring the situation back under control, while we vaccinate more people.

“In short, we must return for a period to a situation much closer to the lockdown of last March.”

Glasgow Times:

Leaving your home for essential purposes includes: 

  • For work or an activity associated with seeking employment, or to provide voluntary or charitable services, but only where that cannot be done from your home.
  • For essential shopping, including essential shopping for a vulnerable person. You should use online shopping or shops and other services in your immediate area wherever you can. 
  • To obtain or deposit money, where it is not possible to do so from home.
  • For healthcare, including COVID-19 testing and vaccination.
  • For childcare or support services for parents or expectant parents.
  • For essential services, including services of a charitable or voluntary nature such as food banks, alcohol or drug support services.
  • Fo access public services where it is not possible to do so, including from home.
  • To meet a legal obligation including satisfying bail conditions, to participate in legal proceedings, to comply with a court mandate in terms of sentence imposed or to register a birth.
  • For attendance at court including a remote jury centre, an inquiry, a children’s hearing, tribunal proceedings or to resolve a dispute via Alternative Dispute Resolution.
  • For essential animal welfare reasons, such as exercising or feeding a horse or going to a vet.
  • Local outdoor recreation, sport or exercise, walking, cycling, golf, or running that starts and finishes at the same place (which can be up to 5 miles from the boundary of your local authority area) as long as you abide by the rules on meeting other households
  • To attend a marriage ceremony or registration of a civil partnership.
  • To attend a funeral or for compassionate reasons which relate to the end of a person’s life. This includes gatherings related to the scattering or interring of ashes, a stone setting ceremony and other similar commemorative events.   
  • To donate blood.
  • For activities in connection with moving home (including viewing a property), or for activities in connection with the maintenance, purchase, sale, letting, or rental of residential property that the person owns or is otherwise responsible for. 
  • Travelling for the purposes of undertaking essential work on a property other than your main residence should not be used as a pretext for a holiday. You should not stay longer than for the length of time required to undertake the necessary work.

The new lockdown is expected to be reviewed in two weeks.