Covid UK: Nicola Sturgeon says UK government 'inaction' will make Covid 'much worse than it needs to be' as Boris Johnson rejects emergency Omicron meeting

The First Minister of Scotland has said that the UK’s government’s ‘inaction’ will make the next phase of the Covid crisis ‘much worse than it needs to be.’

Nicola Sturgeon’s comments come following the news that Prime Minister Boris Johnson has rejected her call for an emergency Omicron covid meeting.

Responding to the Prime Minister’s rejection, Ms Sturgeon tweeted: “The UK government inaction now will make this next phase of the Covid crisis much worse than it needs to be - if we don’t control infections, more people will suffer, the NHS will be overwhelmed, and cancellations/staff absences will leave businesses unable to operate/make money.

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"Instead of the chaos of inaction, we need a managed response. We must advise people to cut social contacts to a minimum - as @scotgov has done - but then compensate businesses for the impact of fewer customers & support venues to cancel events if necessary.

"Devolved governments have no mechanism to trigger financial support at this scale - only @hmtreasury can.

"Notwithstanding reports of a refusal, I hope the PM will agree to talks as a matter of urgency. Urgent action is needed to protect the NHS, lives and livelihoods.”

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The news comes as the Scottish First Minister also told Boris Johnson that failing to put financial support in place for businesses meant that risking the UK’s economic recovery “becomes all but inevitable”.

Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has said that the UK’s government’s ‘inaction’ will make the next phase of the Covid crisis ‘much worse than it needs to be.' as Boris Johnson rejects her call for an emergency Omicron meeting (Photo: Jeff J Mitchell, PA).

The SNP leader made a direct plea to Mr Johnson to act in the wake of record numbers of coronavirus cases – urging him to either re-establish the furlough scheme or give the devolved administrations the means to set up similar initiatives of their own.

She raised these issues as a “matter of extreme urgency” in a letter to the Prime Minister.

She warned: “The sheer number of people likely to be infected in the period ahead risks overwhelming the NHS and disabling the economy and other critical services.”

Ms Sturgeon has already appealed to Scots to restrict their contact with others, recommending meet-ups should be limited to no more than three households.

However, she said this advice needs to be strengthened further, as she told Mr Johnson: “I also believe that restrictions on the operation of higher-risk settings, while of course undesirable, may now be unavoidable.”

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