Address to the nation following the confirmation of local authority protection levels
Firstly, a heartfelt thank you to all of you for the sacrifices you’ve made, as we’ve faced this Covid challenge together.
For some of you, these sacrifices have been compounded by the loss of a loved one, serious illness, or worry about your job and paying the bills.
This has been difficult for everyone, but truly awful for many. No words can make that better.
And I am sorry to again ask for more.
But Covid is still with us. And it is still dangerous.
Europe is now firmly in the grip of a second wave. Some countries, including France and Germany, are back in full lockdown.
Here in Scotland, we see rising cases, more people in hospital and, tragically, more lives being lost.
But we also have grounds for cautious hope.
The difficult restrictions introduced a few weeks ago to limit household visits and hospitality are slowing the rate of increase.
Restrictions are still necessary, but this slowdown is allowing us to act in a more targeted way.
Today I confirmed the different levels of protection that will apply, from Monday, to different parts of the country, depending on the levels of infection.
Detailed information about the level in your area is available on the Scottish Government website. And from Monday a postcode checker will let you find out exactly what the rules are in your area at any given time.
These levels will be reviewed weekly.
But I want to emphasise two restrictions which, for now, apply everywhere.
The first is household mixing.
It remains the case – in all parts of Scotland - that we should not meet up in each other’s homes. That is incredibly hard for all of us. But household mixing - especially indoors - is one of the biggest risks of transmission.
And secondly travel.
A regional approach to restrictions will only be sustainable if we don’t spread the virus from high to lower prevalence areas.
So if you live in a level 3 area, you should only leave your own local authority for essential purposes, such as work, education or caring responsibilities.
And if you live in a level 1 or level 2 area, do not travel to a level 3 area, except for the same essential purposes.
These restrictions are tough but please believe me when I say they are still necessary.
Of course, I wish I could tell you when things will return to normal.
I can’t do that yet. I can only be straight with you.
And given the challenge we face, I cannot guarantee that we won’t have to return to the highest level of restrictions across the whole country.
But I do know the best way for us to avoid that - and I hope secure some degree of Christmas cheer - is to keep abiding by all the rules and guidance.
I know that because it is starting to work already.
Doing that – as it has always been – is fundamentally an act of solidarity, compassion and love.
It is how we make each other safer, protect our NHS, and save lives.
This all gets so much harder after seven months and as winter and Christmas approach. I know that. I feel that.
But we need to dig deep. And we need to stick with it.
We will get through this. Let’s keep doing it together - and for each other. Thank you.
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