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SNP chief hints Scotland to be plunged into post-Christmas lockdown as cases surge

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Scotland: Post-Christmas lockdown is a ‘possibility’ says Swinney

John Swinney said on Thursday the Cabinet will meet as it usually does on Tuesdays to discuss restrictions across the country, but could not rule out the imposition of strict new measures in Scotland. He told the BBC: “Unfortunately, in Scotland today, we are in a rising tide of coronavirus cases.

“The less we do to have social interaction in the period going forward, the better, in terms of stemming the rise in coronavirus cases within our community.”

The Deputy First Minister did not rule out the idea of a lockdown or tougher restrictions after Christmas.

He said: “We’ll have to look at what the forward prospects look like, we’ll have to take decisions that will be sustainable for a period into January and February to protect the public interest and protect the National Health Service.”

Asked specifically if there could be greater restrictions or a possible lockdown, he said: “That could be a possibility, I can’t rule it out.

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“We are on a rising tide of coronavirus cases.

“We will be looking, as we always do, at what the outlook is based on the data in front of us, and we have to take decisions, difficult decisions to make sure we protect the public from a highly dangerous virus.”

Mr Swinney also said it is too early to say if areas of Scotland will be moved into higher levels of protection when the Cabinet meets on Tuesday, a session that is not expected to go ahead over the Christmas period, but was announced by the First Minister on Tuesday.

It comes as First Minister Nicola Sturgeon on Wednesday urged Scots to limit their social interactions over the festive period this year. 

Christmas: SNP’s Philippa Whitford discusses COVID rules

Speaking from Edinburgh during her daily Covid update, she stressed: “Firstly and unequivocally, the safest way to spend Christmas this year for you and for those you love is to stay within your own household and your own home. My strong recommendation is this is what you should do if at all possible.”

The First Minister said any mixing with other households should take place outside, if possible, but that if it was “essential” to meet indoors people should limit the time of that meeting and the numbers involved as much as possible.

She recommended that those people forming a Christmas bubble should only meet up with people on one day, if possible, and not stay overnight “unless it is unavoidable”.

She also stressed the need to limit numbers, saying: “In short, if you have to form a bubble keep it as small as possible.”

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The First Minister said the Scottish Government was recommending against travel from areas with a high prevalence of coronavirus to parts of the country with a lower rate.

She said: “If you haven’t made plans to form a bubble, please don’t.

“If you are still swithering, please decide against. And if you have made plans but think they are not really essential, please think about postponing until later in the year.”

She told people: “The reality is that this Christmas simply can’t be normal. But we have every reason to hope that next year will be much more normal.”

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