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Sturgeon. Photo: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said on Monday that Scotland would enter a month-long lockdown beginning at midnight, as a highly infectious COVID-19 variant continues to spread rapidly throughout the United Kingdom.

Why it matters: Sturgeon warned that rising infections are putting "significant pressure" on the National Health Service, and that hospitals could reach capacity in three to four weeks. As a result, people must legally stay at home and work from home when possible.

What they're saying: "I am now more concerned about the situation now than I have ever been since March," Sturgeon said.

The big picture: The new variant has been found to have a greater degree of transmissibility, but there is "no evidence to suggest that the variant has any impact on the severity of disease or vaccine efficacy," per the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

Go deeper

Jan 26, 2021 - Health

U.K. surpasses 100,000 COVID-19 deaths

Photo: Owen Humphreys/PA Images via Getty Images

The U.K. on Tuesday surpassed 100,000 coronavirus deaths almost a year after the first two cases were reported in the country, according to government figures.

Why it matters: It is the first European country and fifth country in the world to reach the threshold. The country reported 100,162 deaths on Tuesday.

1 hour ago - World

Biden freezes U.S. arms deals with Saudi Arabia and UAE

Trump struck several large arms deals with Mohammed bin Salman (L) and Saudi Arabia. Photo: Kevin Dietsch-Pool/Getty Images

The Biden administration has put on hold two big arms deals with Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates which were approved in the final weeks of the Trump administration, a State Department official tells Axios.

Why it matters: The sales of F-35 jets and attack drones to the UAE and a large supply of munitions to Saudi Arabia will be paused pending a review. That signals a major policy shift from the Trump era, and may herald sharp tensions with both Gulf countries.

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
2 hours ago - Podcasts

Robert Downey Jr. launches VC funds to help save the planet

Robert Downey Jr. on Wednesday announced the launch of two venture capital funds focused on startups in the sustainability sector, the latest evolution of a project he launched two years ago called Footprint Coalition.

Between the lines: This is a bit of life imitating art, as Downey Jr. spent 11 films portraying a character who sought to save the planet (or, in some cases, the universe).

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