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breaking news

Orkney to move to Level Three on Boxing Day

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.

Orkney will be plunged into Level Three of coronavirus restrictions on Boxing Day, in moves to limit the spread of the virus following the festive period.

This announcement from First Minister Nicola Sturgeon comes amid concerns over rising numbers of a new strain of COVID-19.

Special relaxation of measures, which had been due to take effect from December 23, will now be limited to Christmas Day only.

A ban has also been placed on all nonessential travel between Scotland and England, and the First Minister had seriously advised against international travel.

Groups of up to three households will still be allowed to bubble up on Christmas Day only, but folk have been asked to avoid travelling between different areas of Scotland in order to do so.

Ms Sturgeon confirmed that, from Boxing Day, all of mainland Scotland will be plunged straight into Level Four, in a bid to prevent transmission. Orkney is an exception to this, and will instead be placed in Level Three.

She advised that school holidays across Scotland will be extended to January 11, after which pupils will resume learning online. It is hope that pupils may be able to return to schools physically by January 18.

Ahead of announcing the news that Scotland would be enhancing restrictions nationwide, come Boxing Day, the First Minister said that, while she understood why some areas with a relatively low number of cases may be disappointed by this news, she would direct them to figures showing the rapid increase in cases in the south east of England in just the past few days.

“My judgement is, if we do nothing or do to little now, then things will get much than they need to be,” Ms Sturgeon said:

She added: “I know how harsh this sounds. I know it sounds unfair. But this virus isn’t fair.”