Nicola Sturgeon: Scotland may introduce 'five-tier lockdown' system

A five-tiered system of future coronavirus restrictions is being considered for Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon has said.

The First Minister said that a different regime may be adopted north of the Border to the three-tiered approach operating in England.

The new approach will officially be unveiled on Friday and come into effect on November 2. It was confirmed today the current restrictions on hospitality which has seen a complete shutdown of pubs and restaurants in the Central Belt, will be extended until the new tiered approach comes into effect.

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It came as 28 new deaths were recorded from Covid-19 in Scotland today, a five month high, with 1,739 new cases reported.

Nicola Sturgeon has given the nation updates on Scotland's temporary coronavirus restrictions. Picture: JPI Media

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Coronavirus in Scotland: Nicola Sturgeon extends restrictions on hospitality as ...

Ms Sturgeon said the five-tiered approach was "very logical” and already applies in Ireland and New Zealand.

There have been concerns the highest level three in England may not be enough to suppress the spread of the virus and a more stringent tier would be needed.

Similarly the level one south of the Border is the "medium" state of restrictions and Ms Sturgeon said a lower level "close to normality" may be needed.

"We are looking at a five-tier system," the SNP leader told the daily coronavirus briefing today.

"Let me explain the logic for five tiers, which I think is very strong. The middle three tiers will be broadly - perhaps not absolutely - but broadly equivalent to the three tiers in England which they describe as medium, high and very high.

"We think we need one at the bottom, which is the level we would be aspiring to this side of getting a vaccine which is closest to normality, which we could reasonably expect to love with until we have a vaccine.

"We think it's important to have that until we all know that we're working towards."

Ms Sturgeon added; “We also think we need another one at the top because if you remember when England published theirs … the Chief Medical Officer at the time said he thought the top level, the third level of theirs was not enough to necessarily in all circumstances get the virus down.

"So we think we need one above that.”

This would be closer to the “full lockdown” if virus cases got to be that serious.

Ms Sturgeon insisted the number of tiers is not as important as applying measures in a “sensible way” that keeps the virus under control.

Keeping schools open will still remain the “default position” of the Government across the new five-tiered approach, the First Minister said, although a move to “blended” learning at home could not be ruled out if cases spike again.

A fresh package of financial support for businesses will be unveiled on Friday by the Scottish Government. This will detail the support firms can expect across the new “tiers” if they are forced to close down.

Ms Sturgeon insisted this will be “maximum available” from Scottish Government coffers, but the “minimum” which business need as she stepped up calls for extra Treasury funding for Scotland to soften the blow for firms affected.

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