The measures in Scotland – which will start Tuesday and remain in effect until at least the end of this month – ask residents to only make trips outside of their homes for essential purposes and limit the size of outdoor gatherings to two people from separate households, not including children. Schools will also remain closed for in-person learning for most students.
“It is no exaggeration to say that I am more concerned about the situation we face now than I have been at any time since March last year,” First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said.
“It is essential that we further limit interaction between different households to stem the spread and bring the situation back under control, while we vaccinate more people,” she added.
Scotland, which has its own devolved government, has often imposed stricter coronavirus restrictions than those in England throughout the pandemic.
Meanwhile, Johnson is set to make a primetime address to England in which he will outline “further steps” to stem the spread of COVID-19, his office says.
“The spread of the new variant of COVID-19 has led to rapidly escalating case numbers across the country,” a spokesperson for Johnson told Sky News. “The prime minister is clear that further steps must now be taken to arrest this rise and to protect the National Health Service and save lives.”
Johnson said earlier Monday that there is “no question we will have to take tougher measures.”
The United Kingdom, to date, has recorded 2.65 million coronavirus infections – 54,990 of which were newly reported on Sunday, according to statistics from Johns Hopkins University.
The U.K. on Monday also became the first country in the world to begin administering AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford’s coronavirus vaccine, following emergency authorization last week.
The first vaccine went to 82-year-old dialysis patient Brian Pinker at Oxford University Hospital, according to a statement from NHS England. Pinker said the vaccination brought peace of mind as he looks forward to celebrating his 48th wedding anniversary with his wife Shirley in February.
Fox News’ Kayla Rivas contributed to this report.