THE Borders is returning to a March-style coronavirus lockdown alongside the rest of mainland Scotland.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon made the announcement in a statement to the Scottish Parliament this afternoon (Monday, January 4).
Ms Sturgeon said people will be asked to stay at home as much as possible throughout January, beginning at midnight today.
People will only be allowed to leave home for essential purposes, including essential shopping, caring for someone, visiting your extended household and exercising.
The number of times you can exercise is not limited, although group exercise is banned.
The “stay at home” message will be backed up by law, starting from tomorrow (Tuesday, December 5).
The First Minister said the Scottish Government needed to “act quickly to save lives and protect the NHS”.
It comes as the new variant of COVID-19 continues to spread across Scotland. Ms Sturgeon said the new variant accounts for almost half of all new cases in the country.
“It is no exaggeration to say that I am more concerned now than I have been at any time since March,” said Ms Sturgeon.
Schools will now stay closed for a further two weeks until February 1 – with plans to reopen on January 18 scrapped.
The new lockdown means that outdoor gatherings are limited to two people from two different households.
Anyone 11 or under will not be counted towards that number.
Travel restrictions remain in place, with cross-border journeys banned unless essential.
Places of worship will have to close again.
Ms Sturgeon said that the new measures would not be “in place any longer than necessary”, but warned that the lockdown could continue past February 1.
The First Minister added that the Borders is currently at more than 60% of its COVID hospital capacity.