New Scots Covid lockdown may need to last six months

New Coronavirus lockdown measures in Scotland may "realistically" have to be imposed for up to six months, Health Secretary Jeane Freeman has hinted.

Jeane Freeman said all options are on the table
Jeane Freeman said all options are on the table

It could mean that the restrictions already in place in the west of Scotland banning visits to other households could be extended across the country, the Health Secretary indicated.

The prospect of tougher new restrictions now appears likely to stem rising numbers of the virus after 545 positive cases emerged in Scotland over the weekend. Nicola Sturgeon is expected to make an announcement early this week.

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The Scottish Government is now calling on the UK Government to stage a Cobra meeting to discuss the approach being taken across the UK as cases rise.

Ms Freeman said "all options are on the table" today as the Scottish Government considers the measures required to address the rise in cases - but identified "household to household" transmission as a key problem.

"We need to see what we can do to limit that," she told BBC Radio Scotland's Good Morning Scotland.

Ms Freeman said it is too early to see if the "rule of six" is yet working across the country, but it has blunted the rise of cases in Glasgow.

"It's having an impact but what we need to be confident about is that it’s having enough of an impact to make sure that we don't then see a transmission in the wider community which is the point where we really are in a serious situation.

"Right now we're on the cusp of that."

Asked if the restriction in the west of Scotland banning visits to other households could be extended across Scotland, Ms Freeman said: "That is one of the options."

But she insisted that any measures would be time-limited and ministers would set this out. But it comes amid reports today that Downing Street now feels that extended lockdown measures in England may have to last six months.

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Asked about this timeframe , Ms Freeman added: "It's a more realistic position, but we have not yet made all our decisions about the additional measures and how long we believe they will be there for."

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