Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon Monday she would not rule out shutting down all or part of the country to address a recent surge in new COVID-19 cases.
At a news conference in Edinburgh, Sturgeon reminded reporters that when she laid out the nation’s five-tiered (0-4) alert system last week, she said she would not rule out a move to level four — a shutdown of all bars and restaurants and a ban on indoor socializing, among other restrictions — for all or parts of Scotland.
According to the government’s website, no area of Scotland is currently at an alert level higher that three, which still allows for hospitality businesses to be open, though on a limited basis.
Sturgeon stressed the need for everyone to follow the restrictions that apply to their area so they can drive down the spread of the virus. She said the government is very concerned about the rise in hospital and intensive care admissions around the country, and an increase in those numbers could prompt new restrictions.
Sturgeon expressed some frustration about the uncertainty regarding financial assistance Scotland would receive from Britain should the country be forced to impose tougher measures outside the period where government support was available.
A government program that has paid the wages of millions of furloughed employees during the pandemic was due to end Saturday but will be extended during the new British lockdown which is set to end on December 2.
Sturgeon urged people to continue to comply with current restrictions as the country recorded a total number of confirmed cases of 66,012.