Scotland will go into a new lockdown with people ordered to stay at home for January to tackle the escalating COVID-19 crisis, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon says.
Sturgeon told the Scottish parliament that from midnight on Monday people would face a legal requirement to stay at home except for essential purposes, similar to the lockdown imposed at the start of the pandemic in March last year.
"The situation... is extremely serious," she said.
Sturgeon said a new variant of the virus accounts for nearly half of new cases in Scotland and is 70 per cent more transmissible.
"As a result of this new variant, (the virus) has just learned to run much faster, and has most definitely picked up pace in the past couple of weeks," Sturgeon told parliamentarians.
"It is no exaggeration to say that I am more concerned about the situation that we face now than I have been at any time since March."