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SCOTLAND LOCKDOWN: Weddings off, restrictions on funerals and no gatherings of more than two people

Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon
Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon

Funerals will be restricted to immediate family members, weddings are being cancelled and gatherings of more than a handful of people are being banned as Scotland is put into lockdown.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon was speaking at St Andrew’s House in Edinburgh, on Monday night as Scots were told not to leave their homes unless absolutely necessary.

It comes after Prime Minister Boris Johnson put the UK in lockdown – telling people they must stay in their homes or risk fines.

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People will only be allowed out of their homes for essential shopping, one bit of exercise a day, for medical purposes or travelling to and from work if absolutely necessary.

Mrs Sturgeon said the measures were “difficult” and “unprecedented”, adding: “They amount to what has been described as a lockdown. I am not going to seek to sugarcoat it in anyway.

“These measures are essential for the protection of all of us.

“Coronavirus is the biggest challenge of our lifetime and the measures we take to tackle it must reflect the magnitude of that. These measures are essential to slow down the spread of this virus. This is for the protection of each and every one of us.

“What I am telling people across Scotland that they now must do to help us fight this virus is stay at home. That is the clear message I gave yesterday and I am reinforcing that message now.

“From tonight the only permissible reasons to leave your home are as follows: Firstly to shop for basic necessities and I am asking that you limit that to once a day.

“Second to exercise, again once a day alone or with your own household, again not in groups. Third: for medical reasons or to care of a vulnerable person. And fourthly to travel to essential work if that work cannot be done at home.”

She added: “Social events must not take place. That includes weddings and christenings. The exception is funerals. But we are asking, in what is undoubtedly the hardest thing I will say tonight, that they are restricted to immediate family only.

“Gatherings of more than two people will be prohibited unless it is part of a household or related to essential work.”

She said emergency powers will give police the ability to fine anyone caught breaking the rules.

On the issue of enforcement she said: “I want people to think of this not as guidance and advice but a set of rules. I really expect that the vast majority of people will do the right thing and I thank you in advance for that.

“Emergency legislation will give us powers of enforcement and we will use that if necessary. Lives depend on all of us complying with all of that.

“Enforcement is likely to take the form of fines. I hope and expect the issue of enforcement will never be more than an academic one.”

Scotland’s chief medical officer Dr Catherine Calderwood added: “We have the virus in Scotland and this is no longer a rehearsal for something that might have to happen.”

She added that the new measures “can restrict the spread but only if people comply with each and every one of these measures”.

She called on Scots to “reduce their contact with anyone outside their own household”.

She said not complying with the measures will impact the NHS and covid-19 deaths will increase.

Dr Calderwood added: “This is not a rehearsal. This is real life”.

Chief Constable Iain Livingstone QPM said: “We are fully behind the new measures announced by the UK and Scottish Governments to increase social distancing, and I urge and expect everyone to comply with them.

“We are aware of the proposed legislation in relation to coronavirus and are carefully considering the implications in this very fast moving situation, which presents the gravest of threats to the nation.

“In the meantime, Police Scotland has a clear, positive duty to both protect life and improve the safety and wellbeing of people across Scotland, while supporting the government and health agencies in our fight against this pandemic.

“Therefore, until the new legislation is in place, we will be increasing police patrols in key areas across the country to engage with and provide guidance to anyone in contravention of the measures.”

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