Coronavirus: What is Scotland's new five-tier alert system?

Last updated at 09:49
Nicola SturgeonPress Association
Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced the rule changes

Scotland is to enter a new five-tier system of coronavirus alert levels, Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has confirmed.

The new model will come into force from 2 November.

It features five levels of measures - from "level zero" to four - to be applied in different areas of Scotland depending on the spread of the virus.

The top level would be close to a full lockdown, but the aim is for schools to remain open at all levels.

Why is this happening?

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Earlier this month, stricter rules were announced for central Scotland to try and stop the number of coronavirus cases going up.

Coronavirus cases in Scotland continue to rise, with 1,401 new cases registered on Friday.

Nicola Sturgeon said the new strategy was about "striking the best balances we can" between stopping the virus spreading and minimising wider harms to businesses and individuals.

She also said the ban on home visits and the short-term restrictions currently imposed on bars and restaurants in the central belt of the country in particular were beginning to slow the increase in cases.

However, she said restrictions would still be needed until a vaccine for the virus was developed.

What is Scotland's new five-tier alert system?

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The new Scottish system adds two tiers to the model used in England - one at the top and one at the bottom.

Decisions on which tier each part of Scotland will be placed in will be made in the coming week.

Level zero - The most basic tier, it will see people from three different households allowed to meet up indoors, and most businesses open.

Level one - Would add "slightly more" restrictions, with household gatherings limited to six people from two households.

Level two - Will be similar to the restrictions currently in place across Scotland, with some restrictions on hospitality businesses, while level three will see many closed entirely.

Level three- Will be similar to level two but will see many hospitality businesses closed entirely.

Level four - Ms Sturgeon said the top level of restrictions would not be used "unless absolutely necessary", if transmission rates of the virus became very high. This would be "closer to a full lockdown" with non-essential shops closed and people from different households only allowed to meet outdoors.

Find out what the rules are where YOU live here.

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