Scotland will adopt a new five-tier system of coronavirus restrictions from November in an attempt to simplify rules amid a surge in cases and a rising number of deaths.
The tiered system is similar to England’s three-tier strategy and is expected to come into force on Nov. 2, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon told reporters in Edinburgh on Friday.
The new approach comes alongside an expanded testing strategy. It’s an attempt by the Scottish government to take a more targeted approach and make restrictions easier to understand amid separate outbreaks across the region — in particular in the central belt, which includes Edinburgh and Glasgow.
Scotland’sfive-tier system of restrictions “will allow us to take a national approach if required,” Sturgeon said. “It is possible that the whole country could be placed in the same level.”
Scotland’s semi-autonomous government, which has already introduced tougher rules on households and the hospitality industry than in England, is battling a renewed outbreak of Covid-19 as it tries to balance protecting the economy with curbing new infections.
The number of coronavirus cases have spiked in recent weeks and the total since the start of the pandemicexceeded 50,000 earlier this week. The number of fatalities has also begun increasing sharply, with almost 100 deaths in the last seven days.
“Unfortunately, given that cases have risen sharply over much of the last month, these numbers are likely to rise for some time yet,” Sturgeon said.
The U.K.’s four nations have varying restrictions in different regions, based on the number of cases and which administration is responsible for health.
The government in London has placed large parts of northern England under the toughest measures while in Wales the devolved administration is starting atwo-week lockdown to curb the spread of the virus.
Scotland’s government doesn’t expect to implement a national lockdown similar to Wales. “We do not envisage a return to a situation as severe as the national lockdown in March this coming winter,” Sturgeon told reporters.
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