Back to lockdown as Covid rates soared
Residents across Stirlingshire were being ordered to stay at home – again – as figures showed fast-spreading ‘super Covid’ was accounting for around 50 percent of new virus cases.
The city was fully locked down for the second time since the start of the pandemic.
Instructions to stay indoors were made enforceable by law and schools were closed until at least February 1.
There were 2,529 positive Covid cases reported.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said we were in a “race” with the virus to vaccinate as many people as possible.
She said: “This new, more transmissible variant of Covid is becoming increasingly common. Cases are rising much more steeply and rapidly.
“We are asking people and businesses to take this really seriously - as we all did in March, during the first lockdown because the situation is at least as serious now as it was then.”
It became a legal requirement for people to stay at home, other than for specific reasons including caring responsibilities, essential shopping, exercise or as part of an extended household.
Employers were also being urged to ensure that staff could work from home as much as possible, with travelling for work only being permitted if that work cannot be carried out from home.
Places of worship were also to close, with numbers at funerals restricted to 20 and weddings and civil partnerships reduced to just five people.
Stirling’s then MSP Bruce Crawford said: “This isn’t the New Year statement that anyone wanted to hear, but the spike in daily figures – pushed up by the new, faster spreading variant of Covid-19 – has meant that there is no other option but to have in place further restrictions to reduce the number of places the virus can spread.
“The decision to not open schools fully for the remainder of the month at least has not been taken lightly.
“As the First Minister has indicated, whilst schools and nurseries are the last places we all want to see closed, so too they will be the first places we want to see reopened.
“A full reopening of all schools and nurseries this month is not consistent with a safety first approach, which is why most pupils will be learning remotely during January.
“As tough as this is, I urge people to stick with it. We are faced with a new challenge in the form of a mutated variant of this virus.
“However, we’ve already shown ourselves what can be achieved by keeping our distance and keeping each other safe.”
MP Alyn Smith added: “The recent daily figures coming out following the recent spread of the new variant of Covid are startling and it is clear that there is no option but to take action to keep people safe and to prevent our NHS from being overrun.
“As the First Minister pointed out, we are in a race with this virus; we are now armed with two vaccines which are being rolled out to the population, but the virus has just gotten faster at spreading itself amongst people.”