Scots could face another national lockdown similar to the one introduced in England, the deputy first minister has said.
John Swinney, Nicola Sturgeon’s deputy, said it would be “foolish” for the Scottish Government to rule out a move back into coronavirus lockdown.
He insisted that while there is “high confidence” in the country’s new five-tiered system of restrictions, which comes into force at 6am on Monday, it would be “foolish” to rule out having another nationwide lockdown.
The new system will see varying rules introduced in different local authorities depending on the prevalence of the virus in the area.
The deputy first minister added that earlier action adopted by Scotland meant the country was “in general in a stronger situation than prevails in England”.
But he told BBC Politics Scotland that it was not possible to rule out the need for national restrictions to be reintroduced at this point.
“The time that we have taken to bear down on the virus over the course of the last two months has put us in general in a stronger situation than prevails in England today,” he told the BBC.
Asked if he could rule out having to impose another lockdown north of the border, Swinney said: “I can’t categorically rule that out, no, and it would be foolish to do so because we do face a very serious situation.”
He added: “We have taken early steps to try to stem the increase of coronavirus based on the scientific advice that was given to us, and have acted promptly.
“But I can not rule out the possibility of further measures, or indeed a national lockdown being required, should the circumstances arise.”
“We hope the measures we have taken so far, the levels system, the restrictions we have put in place, tough though they are, will be enough to ensure that we can avoid a national lockdown, but it must remain one of the possibilities that exist for us,” he added.
He said ministers “have got great confidence in the levels system that we have taken forward, because there is very significant difference in the prevalence of…