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Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon is pictured at the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh on December 30.
Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon is pictured at the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh on December 30. Jeff J Mitchell/Pool/AFP/Getty Images

Most of mainland Scotland will be subject to stay-at-home orders starting at midnight Tuesday local time, according to Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.

Sturgeon announced the order to the Scottish Parliament Monday afternoon saying it will be “similar to the lockdown of March this year.”

The stay-at-home order will apply to all parts of Scotland that are in Level 4, which includes most of the mainland. Most of the Scottish islands will remain in Level 3, she said.

The order will impose a “legal requirement” on Scottish residents “to stay at home except for essential purpose,” including caring responsibilities, essential shopping, essential exercise and being part of an extended household. 

Unlike the previous spring lockdown, there will be no limit on the frequency of outdoor exercise.

From Tuesday, a maximum of two adults from two households may meet outdoors.

No one may travel into or out of Scotland unless it is for an essential purpose. Places of worship have also closed except for broadcasting purposes. 

Schools will remain closed until February 1 with Sturgeon calling this the “most difficult decision to take.” Sturgeon stressed that the level of community transmission is “too high” for them to reopen. During this period Scottish students will continue with remote learning. Vulnerable children and the children of front-line workers will be excepted from this rule. 

All Scottish residents must work from home unless they are absolutely unable to do so. The order will come into law from Tuesday and will stay in place for the full of January with Sturgeon saying she could not rule out the measures being extended or altered. 

Sturgeon said that the stay-at-home order was prompted by a surge in the country’s positivity and hospitalization rate.

“In the week from the 23rd to the 30th of December, the 7-day incidence of cases per 100,000 population increased by 65% from 136 per 100,225 per 100,000” she said.

Regarding hospitalizations she added that she expected the latest numbers “to show that nationally, the total number of COVID patients in hospital is now close to the April peak.”

Experts “estimate that we are possibly about four weeks behind the position in London, and the southeast of England” Sturgeon said.

“We have an opportunity in Scotland to avert the situation here deteriorating, to that extent, but we must act quickly.”

Sturgeon concluded that “it is essential that we further limit interaction between different households to stem the spread and bring the situation back under control.”