Shetland and the rest of the UK has been put on “lockdown” as governments ordered people to stay at home to curb the spread of the deadly coronavirus.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson made a televised address telling citizens that they were being “enlisted” to help fight the disease. He instructed people to stay at home except for shopping for necessities, taking exercise once a day, medical needs or travelling to and from essential work.
He said the drastic measures, which will be in place for three weeks, were necessary to fight “the biggest threat this country has faced for decades”. He said the country was entering a moment of “real danger” and said the move was necessary to help the health service cope.
“To put it simply, if too many people become seriously unwell at one time, the NHS will be unable to handle it – meaning more people are likely to die, not just from coronavirus but from other illnesses as well.”
Mr Johnson stopped short of labelling the measures a lockdown, but First Minister Nicola Sturgeon – in a broadcast address minutes after Mr Johnson had spoken – said she would not “sugarcoat” the news. She described the unprecedented restrictions as “lockdown”.
This is for the protection of each and every one of us – NICOLA STURGEON
The move, she said, was “essential to prevent the NHS becoming overwhelmed” and “essential to save lives”.
“This is for the protection of each and every one of us,” she said.
The message was clear, said Ms Sturgeon, “stay at home”.
Everything from workplaces to social gatherings will be affected. Weddings and christenings are being halted. Funerals can take place but only immediate family members can attend.
Gatherings of more than two people will not be allowed and police are to be given emergency powers to enforce the new measures.
Ms Sturgeon added: “I know how hard this is but I want to repeat, this is necessary”.
The number of coronavirus deaths in Scotland stands at 14 while across the UK there have been 335. There have been 499 confirmed cases in Scotland, including 24 in Shetland.