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First Minister's 'stay home' message endorsed by Ross-based MSP who calls on residents to follow restrictions 'to save lives'; Nicola Sturgeon says it is 'a race between vaccine and virus' and calls on public to play part

By Hector MacKenzie

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Highland MSP Maree Todd
Highland MSP Maree Todd

A ROSS-SHIRE based MSP has reiterated a new lockdown message shared by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon today.

Ms Sturgeon has outlined a range of restrictions which she described as an "enhancement" of the level 4 measures that have been in place since Boxing Day.

They include a requirement for people to stay at home other than for essential purposes.

People are being asked to work from home unless that is not possible.

Schools will remain closed until February 1.

Highlands and Islands MSP Maree Todd, who is also children's minister, said: “We are now seeing a higher prevalence of Covid-19 in the Highlands than we saw in the first wave of the virus. Although cases remain lower than in other areas of the country, they are rising and the new variant of the virus which is understood to be even more infectious means firm and decisive action is needed now.

“The extreme pressure that the NHS is experiencing in other parts of the UK also presents us with a stark warning. We need to act and take preventative action to ensure our health service in Scotland does not become overwhelmed. But, the window to achieve this is tight and is why the measures set out by the First Minister today are so crucial.

“Right now, the message is clear – stay at home, except for reasonable and specific purposes. This includes education, caring responsibilities, essential shopping and exercise.

“As also announced today, remote learning for school pupils will continue until at least the 1st of February. Schools will, however, be open for vulnerable children and those of essential workers. Returning to in-school learning remains a priority but we need to see reduced levels of community transmission whilst taking extra precaution due to the new strain of the virus.

“Undoubtedly, there are difficult times ahead, but we are at the beginning of the end of this pandemic. As the vaccine programme progresses, normality is in sight, but we need to give the vaccine the time it needs to get ahead and in order to do that, we must slow the virus down.

“It’s critical that we all follow the measures set out by the First Minister today and stay at home to protect the NHS and save lives.”

More to follow.

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