03:23 GMT19 January 2021
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    Global COVID-19 Cases Spike to Highest Level Post-Lockdown (274)

    With the discovery of a faster-spreading variant of COVID-19, UK parliamentary leaders are considering moving to the most stringent lockdown restrictions since the spring, shuttering nonessential shops.

    Just hours after reiterating the importance of wearing face masks in public to stem the spread of COVID-19, news broke that Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon had been caught chatting it up with pensioners without a facial covering on days earlier.

    "This was a stupid mistake, and I'm really sorry. I talk every day about the importance of masks, so I'm not going to offer any excuses,” Sturgeon told the BBC. "I was in the wrong, I'm kicking myself, and I'm sorry."

    The incident happened on Friday at the Stable Bar and Restaurant in southern Edinburgh: Sturgeon was photographed speaking to three people at a table while attending the wake of a Scottish civil servant. Although she was several feet away from the elderly trio, Sturgeon was without her trademark tartan mask.

    The mandatory use of face masks in hospitality settings has been British law since September, with violations punishable by a £60 fine. 

    Earlier on Tuesday at Holyrood, Sturgeon urged the diligent wearing of masks in all public environs, noting that a virulent new COVID-19 strain “seems to transmit more easily, but it can still be stopped in its tracks by the FACTS advice we have emphasised so many times before.” She then began to list the FACTS acronym, of which the F stands for face coverings.

    “All of these things still work in reducing the transmission of this new strain,” she told Scottish lawmakers. “So wherever you are I would ask everyone to assume that the virus and especially this new strain of it is there with you and to act in a way that will minimize the chances of spread.”
    Global COVID-19 Cases Spike to Highest Level Post-Lockdown (274)


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