First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has announced that Scotland will enter a national lockdown.

As of midnight tonight, it will now be a legal requirement for people to stay at home unless for essential travel.

Speaking at Holyrood, Ms Sturgeon said: "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."

The First Minister added: "Indeed, it is no exaggeration to say that I am more concerned about the situation we face now than I have been at any time since March last year."

The decision comes as cases of Covid-19 have dramatically risen across the country, with 1,905 new positive cases announced today.

Here's the key points from today's announcement:

Stay at home message

From tomorrow, if you live in a Level 4 area you cannot leave your home except for an essential purpose - much like back in March.

This means when you do go out, stay as close to home as possible and stay away from crowded places.

And it remains the case that no-one is allowed to travel into or out of Scotland unless it is for an essential purpose.

Schools will stay closed

Nicola Sturgeon confirmed that schools will stay closed until February 1 for the majority of pupils.

The change will apply to all pupils - except vulnerable children, and children of key workers. And it includes nursery schools, as well as primary and secondary schools.

Ms Sturgeon said: "I want to be clear that it remains our priority to get school buildings open again for all pupils as quickly as possible and then keep them open.

"However, right now, two factors mean that it is not consistent with a safety-first approach for all children to attend school in person.

"First, the overall level of community transmission is too high. We need to get transmission down before schools can safely reopen. A period of online learning will also, in turn, help us do that.

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"The second reason is that there is still significant uncertainty about the impact of the new variant on transmission amongst young people.

"We, therefore, have to adopt a cautious approach.

"So most pupils will be learning online for at least the rest of the month."

This decision will be reviewed on January 18 whether they can return to school on February 1.

Meeting people outdoors

From tomorrow, the rule on outdoor gatherings will change.

Previously, up to six people from two households are able to meet outdoors. Given the greater transmissibility of this new variant, the Scottish Government will consider it necessary to restrict that further.

From tomorrow, a maximum of two people from up to two households will be able to meet outdoors.

Children aged 11 and under will not be counted in that limit, and they will also be able to play outdoors in larger groups, including in organized gatherings.

However, for everyone else – including 12 to 17-year-olds - outdoor exercise should only take place in a way which is consistent with the two people from two households rule.

Working from home

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Anyone who is able to work from home must do so.

It will only be a reasonable excuse to leave your home to go to work if that work cannot be done from home.

The Scottish Government are asking people and businesses to take this "really seriously" because the situation is at least as serious now as it was then.

The law already requires many businesses in certain sectors to close in Level 4.

Every business is being asked to look again at their operations and to make sure that every single function that can be done by people working at home, is being done in that way.

Shielding advice changes

If you were shielding and you cannot work from home, our clear advice now is that you should not go into work at all.

Hospitals near capacity

Nicola Sturgeon confirmed that the total number of Covid-19 patients in hospital is close to its April peak. 

In terms of hospital beds, NHS Ayrshire and Arran is currently at 96% of its Covid-19 capacity, and three other health boards - Borders, Greater Glasgow & Clyde and Lanarkshire - are above 60% of their capacity.

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The total number of patients in intensive care in Scotland is already above normal winter levels. Indeed, all mainland health boards have now exceeded their normal intensive care unit capacity.

And it is important to be clear that people who are in hospital and ICU now are likely to have been infected 10 days to two weeks ago.

Other restrictions will also come into effect including places of worship closing, no wakes, two-metre distancing in canteens and further premises closing.

The fortnightly review will not simply be a choice between opening and closing schools - we will always seek to maximise the number of pupils we can safely get back to classrooms and nurseries.

What help will be provided?

Grants are available for businesses required to close as a result of restrictions. That support is, in addition, to support through the UK wide furlough scheme.

The Scottish Government’s financial support for businesses during the pandemic currently totals more than £2.3 billion.

How can I report a rule breach?

You can report a breach taking part in Scotland by accessing the form here.

The form is for reporting breaches and is not meant for reporting emergencies with the police still advising members of the public to call 999 in an emergency. 

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