Cases of this new variant have already been confirmed in the country, and the First Minister has already stressed the need for caution.
Follow here for all live updates.
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Nicola Sturgeon briefing: Follow here for all updates from the First Minister’s Tuesday briefing
Last updated: Tuesday, 30 November, 2021, 14:55
Omicron variant: Nine cases linked to single event as Scotland ramps up testing
All nine cases of the Omicron variant so far identified in Scotland have been linked to a single private event, Nicola Sturgeon has said.
If we treat news of this new variant as an opportunity to raise our guard again, I hope we can protect
the progress we have made in recent weeks.
And we can give ourselves the best possible chance of enjoying not just a more normal Christmas, but
a safer Christmas too - and also of avoiding any tighter restrictions in the weeks ahead.
So please, get vaccinated, get tested, and comply with all the protections in place.
By doing this, we will all play our part in slowing the spread of the virus generally and this new variant
First of all, get vaccinated.
It is the single most important thing we can do to protect each other.
Secondly, as I have just mentioned, test regularly, on any occasion before socialising, or mixing with
people from other households.
Without doubt, the emergence of the new variant is a blow – it is the most concerning development in
the pandemic of recent months.
But even if our developing knowledge about the variant confirms some of our worries - and let’s hope it
doesn’t - we are still in a much better position than we were this time last year, thanks to vaccines.
And we know what we need to do stem transmission. We have done it before and we know it works.
It’s down to all of us to make sure we do it.
So, please - test yourself before mixing with others, every time.
And, of course, from Monday, subject to parliament’s approval this week, proof of a recent negative
lateral flow test or vaccination will be accepted by venues and events which are covered by the Covid
It is already very easy, and free, to get lateral flow tests – they can be ordered online or collected from
pharmacies and test centres.
In addition to getting vaccinated - and as I said earlier - all of us should now step up and significantly
increase our compliance with existing protections such as face coverings, ventilation and hand hygiene.
We are also strongly encouraging everyone who can work from home to do so.
I know there is a concern that the vaccines will be less effective against the new variant.
We don’t yet know if that’s the case.
But even if it is, vaccination will still matter.
Less effective does not mean ineffective.
A booster will significantly improve our protection against all variants.
It really is the most important thing any of us can do to protect ourselves and our loved ones.
And similarly, if you haven’t yet had your first or second doses, please do that too - it’s now more
important than ever to book an appointment and get the protection vaccination will offer you.