Sturgeon set to recall Scottish Parliament to consider ‘further action’ to tackle Covid surge

“The steep increases and severe NHS pressure being experienced in other parts of the UK is a sign of what may lie ahead,” Ms Sturgeon warned.

She added: “So we must take all steps to slow spread while vaccination progresses.We, like other countries, are in a race between this faster spreading strain of Covid and the vaccination programme.

“As we work to vaccinate as quickly as possible, we must also do more to slow down the virus – to save lives and help the NHS care for all those who need it.

“Following a meeting of the Scottish government resilience committee yesterday to assess latest situation, the cabinet will meet tomorrow am to consider further action to limit spread and I’ve asked for Scottish Parliament to be recalled tomorrow afternoon so that I can set out our decisions in a statement.

“All decisions just now are tough, with tough impacts. Vaccines give us way out, but this new strain makes the period between now and then the most dangerous since start of pandemic. So the responsibility of government must be to act quickly and decisively in the national interest.”

All of mainland Scotland is already subject to the most severe level of restrictions, including the closures of non-essential shops and entertainment venues, and it is not yet clear whether Ms Sturgeon will order the closure of schools to resemble the tough March lockdown imposed at the onset of the pandemic.

Speaking on BBC’s Andrew Marr programme, the prime minister also raised the prospect of stricter measures in England, as he said restrictions were “probably about to get tougher to keep things under control” amid concerns at the top of government over the prevalence of the new strain of Covid-19.

“There are obviously a range of tougher measures that we would have to consider. I’m not going to speculate now on what they should be,” he added.

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