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'Keep yourselves safe' urges Lochhead as new coronavirus lockdown announced

By Alan Beresford

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MORAY'S MSP has urged the region's residents to stick to the new Covid guidelines due to take effect from Boxing Day.

Richard Lochhead MSP
Richard Lochhead MSP

Saturday saw First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announce a preventative three-week lockdown to try and stem the flow of a new, more mobile variant of the virus currently rife on the south-east of England hitting Scotland hard.

All areas of the nation have been moved into level four with travel bans for all but essential purposes due to come into force.

The relaxation of the rules for meeting up with others, previously set to run to five days over the Christmas period, will now only apply to Christmas Day itself.

Moray MSP Richard Lochhead said: “I’ve also no doubt that many people will still be trying to process the announcement made by the First Minister over the weekend, confirming that all of mainland Scotland, including Moray, will move into level four restrictions for three weeks from Boxing Day.

“The decision to rapidly increase the level of restrictions across the country is not one that has been taken lightly. This position has been reached due to the rapid spread of the new strain of the virus in London, the south-east of England, and in Wales. A few weeks ago, case numbers in London were low, but they are now running out of control.

“With confirmed cases of this new strain in Scotland, this action is being taken as a preventative measure, to stop case numbers from escalating very quickly. We need to act now to give us a chance of keeping the situation under control while the vaccination programme makes progress – we cannot take chances and allow the new strain of the virus to spread through communities in Scotland, like it has done in other parts of the UK.

“The alternative is to take no action, and whilst that may feel easier – especially given Christmas is just around the corner and we’ve all had an incredibly tough year – there’s no doubt that to do nothing would risk many lives and put our local NHS under enormous strain."

Mr Lochhead said he recognised the impact on businesses in Moray and further afield already battered

He continued: “Throughout this pandemic I have always ensured that decision makers recognise the impact of restrictions on Moray, whether that be the challenges facing our local businesses or the risks of isolation in rural communities, and I will continue to do so.

"But low case numbers in previous weeks, and being a rural constituency, does not make us immune to this awful virus. Just a few cases of this new more infectious strain in Moray could turn things around very quickly.

“I know that this is a very difficult time for many of us who feel frustrated and worried. I would simply urge everyone in Moray to continue to stick to the guidance and keep doing our bit to keep our communities safe.”

For the full level four guidelines visit https://www.gov.scot/.../corona.../pages/protection-level-4/

Updated festive season regulations can be found at https://www.gov.scot/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-for-festive-period

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