Scotland: Police 'will take action' to enforce rules says Swinney
Scotland was placed into a new lockdown from Monday night after coronavirus cases spiralled out of control over the past few weeks. John Swinney said the restrictions are likely to remain in place for “some time” as the nation battles to contain the spread of the virus. The SNP deputy First Minister insisted Police Scotland will not intervene on a routine basis but “will take action” to stop Scots from flouting the lockdown rules.
Speaking to Sky News, Mr Swinney said: “You know, the police are not going around individual house checking on individuals, nor are they stopping cars routinely on the street for weather or not journeys are essential.
“But the fact this has been put into law is an important indication of the seriousness we need people to take and we need them to follow.
“If people follow these restrictions, we will be successful as we were in the spring of last year in significantly reducing the prevalence of the virus.”
He continued: “Having said that, Police Scotland are taking enforcement action, there was action taken on a very significant scale the other day in relation to people clearly flouting the regulations and it’s important that Police Scotland take that action when they judge operationally that’s the right thing to do.”
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Police Scotland Chief Constable Iain Livingstone also confirmed there will be “increased patrols” in Scotland’s communities and said and officers will continue to act against anyone making “wilful breaches” of the law.
Nicola Sturgeon announced Scotland would return into lockdown hours before Prime Minister Boris Johnson also issued a stay-at-home order for England.
Ms Sturgeon said the decision was the result of concerning rises in new coronavirus cases across the nation in the past few weeks.
She urged Scots to limit their travel and work from home whenever possible to avoid infection and keep the NHS from coming under further pressure.
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The First Minister said: “Being back in lockdown is really hard to take for everyone, but it is necessary to slow down this new strain of the virus while we get people vaccinated.
“Please – for your own safety, that of your loved ones and of the whole country: Stay at Home, Protect the NHS and Save Lives.”
Schools will remain open for the children of key workers who cannot work from home, and for vulnerable youngsters.
People who are shielding in Scotland have also been told not to go into work whilst businesses have been urged to tell employees to work from home.
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Updating MSPs on Monday, the First Minister said: “We have an opportunity in Scotland to avert the situation here deteriorating to that extent. But we must act quickly.
“I can confirm now, in summary, that we decided to introduce from tomorrow, for the duration of January, a legal requirement to stay at home except for essential purposes.
“This is similar to the lockdown of March last year.”
Scotland recorded 1,905 new coronavirus cases in the past 24 hours, down from the 2,464 reported on Sunday but Scottish health officials remain concerned at the high levels.
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