Covid in Scotland: Nicola Sturgeon to urge Scots to 'redouble efforts' in fight against virus during SNP conference

In her speech to the SNP conference, the First Minister is expected to urge Scots to ‘redouble efforts’ in the fight against covid to ‘maximise’ chance of having a ‘more normal Christmas.’

Nicola Sturgeon is expected to urge Scots to ‘redouble efforts’ in the fight against covid to ‘maximise’ chance of having a ‘more normal Christmas’ at SNP conference (Photo: Fraser Bremner).
Nicola Sturgeon is expected to urge Scots to ‘redouble efforts’ in the fight against covid to ‘maximise’ chance of having a ‘more normal Christmas’ at SNP conference (Photo: Fraser Bremner).

With cases of the newly-discovered Omicron covid variant detected in Scotland, the Scottish First Minister will use her speech to the SNP conference on Monday to highlight the need for vigilance.

Six new cases of the Omicron variant have now been detected in Scotland.

The First Minister is expected to say: “We must not drop our guard. This is a time to be more vigilant, not less.”

She will also give an update on the current covid situation in Scotland, what we know about Omicron so far, and what we can all do to help contain spread.

Ms Sturgeon will give this covid briefing with Dr Gregor Smith, chief medical officer for Scotland, at 10.30am on Monday.

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Infection levels in Scotland having been “stable”, if not “declining slightly”, in recent weeks.

She will state at the conference: “To be frank, that’s a much better position than I had dared hope for a couple of months ago.”

Despite this she will warn Scotland faces “big and very real challenges ahead over the winter months”.

Ms Sturgeon will say: “Cases are rising in countries all around us. We know that colder weather, forcing us indoors, coupled with festive socialising will create increased opportunities for the virus to spread.”

She will tell the conference that the new variant of Covid has led the Scottish Government to impose tighter restrictions at the borders, adding the fact that “none of this was even contemplated just a few days ago, is a reminder of how fast this virus can move and change”.

The First Minister will tell people: “We must, all of us, therefore, redouble our efforts to stop it in its tracks.

“Over these next weeks of winter, we need to pull together and look after each other.

“No government can fight a virus alone – we all need to play our part. That was true before the detection of Omicron, and it is even more so now.

“If all of us increase our compliance with the protections already in place, we will help slow transmission.

“So I am asking everyone to please, take the time now to think afresh about the basic steps you can take to keep yourself, your loved ones and the country safe.”

She will add: “If we all do this, we will slow the spread.

“And we will maximise our chances, not just of a more normal Christmas but a safer Christmas too and, let’s all hope, a much brighter new year.

Speaking on The Andrew Marr Show over the weekend, Ms Sturgeon mentioned that tighter travel rules could be brought in.

She told the BBC show: “We may need to go further in restricting travel in the days to come.

“I hope I’m wrong, but we must keep our minds open to that.”

Scotland is currently following the same policy as the rest of the UK, which has now put ten countries in southern Africa on the red list meaning travellers are required to quarantine and take PCR tests when travelling from these areas to the UK.

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