More than 5,000 people in Scotland have now died from coronavirus, Nicola Sturgeon has announced.
Over the last 24 hours, there have been 54 new deaths registered – taking the toll to 5,023.
A total of 153,423 people have now tested positive in Scotland, up from 151,548 the previous day.
Describing it as a “depressing” day, Ms Sturgeon said the government was doing all it can to curb the spread of the virus – and is still considering tightening restrictions around click-and-collect and takeaway services to keep people at home.
The Cabinet met earlier today and are continuing to discuss the options available, which will be presented to parliament tomorrow.
Ms Sturgeon stressed that the overall objective is to “reduce, as far as possible” the opportunities for the virus to spread which means all services which give people a reason to leave their homes must be examined thoroughly.
She said the government was not looking to stop takeaway or click-and-click services altogether, but perhaps re-examine how they operate and in what circumstances.
“Are there places, even in lockdown, where people are coming together and do we need to do more to stop that? Right now we’re asking people to stay at home except for essential services, but people can still go into a takeaway.
“We’re not looking to ‘do away’ with click-and-collect altogether, but if we’re saying to people that they shouldn’t shopping unless it’s essential, we we need to have click-and-collect for non-essential items out on delivery instead?
“We’re looking to limit people coming together inside.
“This is even more important than in March, as we know this virus spreads faster and is even more transmissible, so it’s even more important we cut down those interactions.”
Funding boost for Level 3 businesses
Ms Sturgeon announced that new funding will be made available to businesses in the islands, who have been impacted by Level 3 restrictions.
Speaking at the coronavirus briefing in Edinburgh, Nicola Sturgeon said businesses in Orkney, Shetland, the Western Isles and some Hebridean islands would receive “one-off grants” to mitigate the effects of a lack of tourists.
Around £3million will be given to local authorities.
“The latest set of restrictions, I know, have been incredibly tough for businesses across the economy, but perhaps particularly for those in the hospitality, retail and leisure sectors.
“We remain committed to working with those sectors to help them as much as we can get through the coming months.”
Pre-departure testing in place from 4am Friday
Travellers coming to Scotland will need to show proof of a negative test from 4am on Friday.
All arrivals will need evidence from the past three days that they have tested negative, and said it will need to be “highly reliable” – suggesting it will most likely have to be a PCR test.
Young children may be exempt from the requirement.
Ms Sturgeon said: “I want to be very clear here, this requirement for testing before entry to the country is seen not as a substitute for the protections and mitigations in place, but as an addition to those.
“Testing before entry to the country is not a magic solution to the risk of cases being imported, so it will reinforce rather than replace our current travel restrictions.”
She stressed that the changes should impact very few people, as nobody should be travelling in and out of the country – or around it – unless they have an essential reason.
“Don’t travel right now unless you have a genuinely essential purpose,” she urged. “Stay at home.”
Those travelling from countries not on the quarantine exemption list will still need to self-isolate on arrival.
Plea for 3,000 to sign up for Covid-19 survey
Ms Sturgeon also used the daily briefing to ask people to help shape the government’s response to the pandemic by taking part in a fortnightly survey.
Help us learn more about the coronavirus pandemic in Scotland by volunteering for our online research panel.
It involves fortnightly surveys on the number of people you've been in contact with, and your experiences of #coronavirus.
Sign up to take part ⬇
— Scottish Government (@scotgov) January 8, 2021
Two online surveys were launched in August, looking at contact with others and the use of face coverings.
Now the Scottish Government is looking for a further 3,000 participants to help understand the virus and shape the response to it.