Nicola Sturgeon gives update on Omicron variant in Scotland - what you need to know

by 24britishtvNov. 29, 2021, 7 p.m. 40
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Nicola Sturgeon held an emergency Covid briefing today as the first cases of the Omicron variant were identified in Scotland.

The first minister was joined by Scotland's chief medical officer Dr Gregor Smith to detail what they currently know about the situation in Scotland.

The new Omicron variant, which was first discovered in South Africa, has led to countries around the world tightening restrictions amid concerns it could be more transmissible than the Delta variant.

UK prime minister Boris Johnson announced tighter measures on mask wearing and travel over the weekend for England, reintroducing mandatory face coverings in shops and on public transport.

Meanwhile, in Scotland, face coverings have been compulsory in these settings throughout the majority of the pandemic as highlighted yesterday by the first minister on the Andrew Marr Show.

As the Omicron variant continues to dominate headlines, here's what we learned from Nicola Sturgeon's Covid update today...

1. 6 Omicron cases detected so far in Scotland

Some of the 6 cases currently detected have no link to travel to or from South Africa or the countries on the red list, which suggests there could be some level to community transmission.

The Scottish government is asking people to significantly increase compliance with the current rules in place: wearing face coverings, taking regular lateral flow tests, getting vaccinated and maintaining high levels of hygiene.

3. No evidence currently to suggest disease caused by Omicron is more severe

According to the WHO, there is currently no evidence to suggest that illness caused by the Omicron variant is more severe.

However, the first minister said this remained under review and we will learn more in the coming weeks.

She said: "although more data is still required, there is no evidence at this stage to suggest that the disease caused by Omicron is more severe."

Although the first minister couldn't provide a detailed updated on the figures in Scotland, which will be published later today, she confirmed that the current situation in Scotland was stable.

Nicola Sturgeon has written a joint letter with Welsh leader Mark Drakeford to the UK government urging a four nations policy to introduce an 8-day self-isolation period for people arriving from overseas.

The first minister said: "We are proposing a tougher four-nations approach to travel restrictions at this stage that would see people arriving in the UK from overseas asked to self-isolate for eight days. In our proposal, they would take a PCR test on day eight of their arrival, as well as on day 2."

Currently 10 countries are on the red list and anyone arriving in Scotland from anywhere outside the common travel area, will be asked to take a PCR Covid test on the second day of their arrival, and self-isolate until they get the result of that test back.

6. Further actions will be considered in coming days

Further actions regarding rules and regulations to curb the spread of Covid will be considered in the coming days as we learn more about the Omicron variant

7. Hope remains that concern surrounding this variant can be reduced as we learn more

The first minister said that she remained hopeful that as we learn more about this Covid variant, concern surrounding it will reduce rather than increase.

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