Wales and Northern Ireland have also introduced or extended existing restrictions in movement while prime minister Boris Johnson is expected to announce further steps for England in a televised address at 8pm.
As the scale of the latest wave of the pandemic grows throughout the UK, Scotland has moved to reintroduce tighter controls including closing all schools until the end of January.
However, unlike last March, the housing industry will be allowed to continue operating in the current situation.
First minister Nicola Sturgeon told the Scottish parliament that from midnight people were being told to stay at home and work from home if at all possible, with only essential purposes allowed.
These include “activities in connection with moving home (including viewing a property), or for activities in connection with the maintenance, purchase, sale, letting, or rental of residential property that the person owns or is otherwise responsible for”.
The regulations also warn that travelling for the purposes of undertaking essential work on a property other than your main residence should not be used as a pretext for a holiday, and people should not stay longer than for the length of time required to undertake the necessary work.
Tradespeople are permitted to go into a house to carry out or deliver essential work or services, including to support a home move, for example furniture removal.
And all holiday accommodation is closed to tourism, with hotels, B&Bs and self-catering allowed to remain open for essential customers only.
Businesses must look at operations again
“I can confirm now, in summary, that we [have] decided to introduce from midnight tonight for the duration of January, a legal requirement to stay at home except for essential purposes,” Sturgeon said.
“This is similar to the lockdown of March last year.”
She added: “As things stand, we estimate that we are possibly about four weeks behind the position in London and the south east.
“The rapid acceleration in London began when it was at about 160 new cases a week, for every hundred thousand people. That’s the level Scotland was at a week ago.
“We have an opportunity in Scotland to avert the situation here deteriorating to that extent. But we must act quickly.”
Sturgeon reiterated that anyone who is able to work from home, must do so and that it will only be a reasonable excuse to leave your home to go to work, if that work cannot be done from home.
“We are asking people and businesses to take this really seriously – as we all did in March, during the first lockdown, because the situation is at least as serious now as it was then,” she said.
“We now need every business to look again at their operations, and to make sure that every single function that can be done by people working at home, is being done in that way.
“Businesses have already shown a tremendous capacity to adapt during this pandemic and I’m very grateful to them for that – and we need them to consider their operations again, as we all work together to reduce transmissions.”