Scotland will introduce a new five-level system of restrictions to help contain the coronavirus, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced Friday.
The latest measures will be introduced on November 2, with schools staying open through each of the new tiers.
Sturgeon said Scotland will not return “to a situation as severe as the first lockdown,” and that Scotland has “more tools” at their disposal to keep control of rising infection rates.
At the lowest level, known as zero, up to eight people from three separate households will be permitted to meet indoors and up to 15 people from five households outdoors. This gradually reduces until at the highest level, only essential shops will remain open. The key difference between the new tiers and March’s lockdown is that schools will remain open.
According to the new framework, new rules at levels two and three will last for two to four weeks, or “as long as required to get the virus down to a low, sustainable level.” To reach level 4, infection rates will have to pose a threat to the NHS’s ability to operate in the region.
Coronavirus cases in Scotland continue to rise, with 1,401 registered on Friday together with a further 18 deaths.
Tougher measures were enforced on Scotland’s central belt two weeks ago to help reduce the spread of a regional outbreak, and was due to be reconsidered on October 23.
Both England and Wales have introduced stricter restrictions in recent weeks. In England, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has faced criticism for his tiered system, which currently includes three levels, though a fourth in which only very few children could attend schools in person has also been planned for.