Nicola Sturgeon says children do not count in Scotland's rule of six in major difference to England

Will Taylor
·News Reporter
·2-min read
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon during First Minster's Questions (FMQ's) in the debating chamber of the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh.
Nicola Sturgeon's new rule of six will not include children under 12. (PA Images)

Scotland’s new rule of six, which will limit gatherings in a similar way to England’s restriction, is not going to include children under 12.

First minister Nicola Sturgeon has said people will only be able to meet in groups of six or under as the country tries to keep its COVID-19 cases down.

It means three couples could meet with any number of children under 12 in Scotland, as they will not count towards the limit of people.

That compares to England’s absolute ban on gatherings greater than six people, except for certain situations like work or education, or weddings, funerals and organised sport.

Sturgeon also warned the R number – the average number of people infected by someone with the coronavirus – could be as high as 1.5

“The announcements I have made so far are hard for people to hear,” she said.

“I know that after six long, hard months, we are still asking the public to make a lot of difficult sacrifices.”

Read more: Newly-released figures show huge leap in coronavirus cases

Scotland is in a “precarious position”, she said, but in a “much better position than in late March” and the rise in cases is “not as rapid”.

“Elimination (of the virus) is still, and must still be, our objective,” she said.

“But the reason we are being cautious again today is that we must continue to bear down on the rates of infection.”

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Before this rule change, up to eight people from three households could meet indoors, and up to 15 people from five households could gather outside.

Now, the six people can only be from up to two households, Sturgeon said, and while it will not enter force until Monday, people should follow “these stricter new limits on gatherings immediately”.

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Exceptions in Scotland include organised sports, places of worship, and up to 20 people will be able to go to weddings, civil partnerships and funerals.

Face coverings will also need to be worn for customers in Scotland’s hospitality sector when they are moving around and not eating or drinking.

Sturgeon has also said the rise in coronavirus cases – which increased by 161 in the past 24 hours to 22,039 – means putting reopenings of theatres, soft play centres and stadiums in Scotland back to 5 October at the earliest is “the only responsible decision we can reach”.

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