Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner. Facebook Messenger An icon of the facebook messenger app logo. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Facebook Messenger An icon of the Twitter app logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. WhatsApp Messenger An icon of the Whatsapp messenger app logo. Email An icon of an mail envelope. Copy link A decentered black square over a white square.

UK arrivals ban: No ‘immediate concern’ over food and medicine supplies

The Port of Dover.
The Port of Dover.

Nicola Sturgeon says there is no “immediate concern” over medicine or food supplies in the run up to Christmas after more than 40 nations banned arrivals from the UK over coronavirus fears.

The first minister said there is still a chance to control the spread of a new Covid-19 variant in Scotland, despite UK health secretary Matt Hancock stating the more infectious strain is already “out of control” in the UK.

Flights from the UK have been suspended to countries across the world and France led the way for the rest of the EU to shut its borders, leaving huge queues and travel chaos as no lorries or ferries were able to depart from the port of Dover.

UK arrivals ban
Lorries queue for the Port of Dover along the A20 in Kent.

Ms Sturgeon was scheduled to take part in talks involving her own officials and leaders from across the UK on Monday to discuss the travel ban’s “significant implications for businesses in Scotland”.

Speaking at her daily coronavirus briefing in Edinburgh, she said there is “no risk” to supplies of the Covid-19 vaccine and no “immediate concern” over medicine supplies because stocks were already built up ahead of Brexit.

Ms Sturgeon urged people not to stockpile food and risk a return to the scenes of empty shelves seen earlier in the pandemic, saying: “We have been assured by supermarkets that they are well stocked for Christmas.”

The first minister has called for the activation of no-deal Brexit plans to tackle port disruption and backed the Scottish food sector‘s request for the UK Government to take action to enable exports to continue.

Her own request for the Brexit transition period to be extended was rejected by Downing Street as it prepares to push on to December 31 with or without a trade deal.

Ms Sturgeon said coronavirus cases in Scotland had been “volatile” over recent days and are now thought to be rising after weeks of decline.

Analysis of the new variant indicates it could be up to 70% more transmissible and possibly accounts for 40% to 60% of new cases in London and the south-east of England. Ms Sturgeon said the risk of it spreading rapidly in Scotland is “very real”.

UK arrivals ban
Nicola Sturgeon.

“That’s what we’ve got to stop here in Scotland, and that’s the reason for the actions that I announced on Saturday,” she said.

Ms Sturgeon confirmed there had been 1,504 new positive coronavirus tests recorded in Scotland and said even though a processing backlog was thought to be partially responsible for the “significantly higher” figure, cases are still rising.

“If we do nothing now, we are likely to see more new infections in Scotland as a result of this variant – placing an even greater strain on our health service, and leading to more deaths,” she said.

“But as things stand, with our lower prevalence in a relative sense, we still have a chance of keeping this situation under control while the vaccination programme continues – and while we get case numbers back to very low levels again.”

Christmas shopping during the pandemic.

Ms Sturgeon urged people not to meet members of others households indoors on Christmas Day, despite the tightened restrictions announced on Saturday allowing three households to a maximum of eight people aged 12 and over to do so for that day only, instead of the five days previously outlined.

She said the decisions announced on Saturday to restrict the meeting period over Christmas, to bring in a cross-border travel ban and place all of mainland Scotland in the highest level of restrictions from Boxing Day were “horrible”.

The SNP leader added: “I know the consequences of not acting now to stop this virus could be catastrophic, so I am genuinely sorry to have to do these things. But believe me when I say they are necessary.”

Iain Livingstone.

Chief constable Iain Livingstone told the briefing that police officers may investigate why people are travelling over the festive season if their journey is suspected of breaching Covid-19 rules.

Travel between Scotland and the rest of the UK is currently prohibited in law for all but “essential” reasons and Mr Livingstone said his officers will carry out “some investigation” where they suspect a “flagrant breach” of the restrictions.

He confirmed “high visibility” will be present across Scotland but officers will not be setting up check points, adding that it would be “excessive and disproportionate” to ask people to carry identification papers.

Mr Livingstone added: “The key thing is not to think ‘I might get away with it, or not’ – people should do the right thing, and think how they can make a contribution to stopping this virus spreading.”