1pm update

FM issues warning as bars fear ‘catastrophic curfew’

Hampton in Edinburgh

Concern is growing of a second lockdown

Hospitality businesses are fearful that many will never reopen if a curfew is imposed across Scotland to control an upsurge in Covid-19 cases.

The Westminster government is considering England-wide measures which could see hospitality businesses forced to shut and there are growing concerns that this will be introduced north of the border to try slowing a second surge of coronavirus cases.

Downing Street is looking at a short period of shutdown – or “circuit break” of a few weeks – across the country which could be announced in the next week.

Controls come into force in northeast England today affecting Newcastle, Gateshead, Sunderland, Northumberland, South Tyneside, North Tyneside and the County Durham council area.

At lunchtime the government announced tighter restrictions in Lancashire, Merseyside, parts of the Midlands and West Yorkshire.

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The new rules ban separate households from meeting each other at home or in private gardens. Pubs and restaurants must also shut early in parts of Lancashire and Merseyside. The measures will come into force from Tuesday.

Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has called for Downing Street to organise a Cobra meeting to discuss what she said is the most critical point in tackling coronavirus since March.

She warned: “I’m giving people advance notice that we are likely to see some very difficult decisions over the coming days”

In parliament yesterday she that the Scottish Government was “carefully considering” whether new lockdown rules were required “for all or parts of the country”.

Seven councils in the Greater Glasgow area currently have bans on social gatherings indoors but the SNP leader suggested similar rules could be rolled out elsewhere.

The latest moves come as virus is now understood to be doubling every seven to eight days. In Scotland 290 people tested positive for Covid yesterday – the highest figure since May 1 – with the majority in the west of Scotland.

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