Nicola Sturgeon has ruled out immediately imposing new restrictions to stem the alarming rise in covid cases but called on businesses and individuals to stick to double down on existing rules.
She told MSPs in Holyrood: “The situation we face just now is serious. We must stem the rise in cases.”
However, the First Minister again appeared to hold the option of a circuit breaker lockdown in reserve as she said it would be “irresponsible” to rule out re-introducing any restrictions.
Sturgeon said: “But if that is to be avoided it will take all of us making a conscious and concerted effort again to comply with all the basic mitigations that we know can slow down transmission.”
The First Minister said the basic precautions of “face coverings, encouraging stringent hygiene, and support for continued home working where possible” should continue.
She added: “I am grateful to businesses across the country for the efforts being made to keep staff and customers safe. I am particularly grateful to those businesses continuing to support home working.”
“We are also continuing to support urgent measures to improve ventilation in schools – for example the purchase and use of CO2 monitors. We are also looking at options to support better ventilation in priority workplaces.”
Sturgeon said that vaccination remains the single most important step to take and she once again voiced support for the vaccination of younger teenagers.
She said: “We expect updated advice from the JCVI soon on vaccination of 12 to 15 year olds, and on booster jabs for vulnerable groups such as older people and those with compromised immune systems.
We will move to implement any extensions to the vaccine programme just as soon as we get the JCVI recommendations.”
All 16 and 17 year olds who have not yet had a first dose have now been invited to come forward.
Sturgeon said: “It really is impossible to overstate the importance of vaccination in getting us safely through this phase and the winter months ahead.
By getting vaccinated we help keep ourselves and others safe.”