LiveNicola Sturgeon update RECAP: First Minister tells MSPs rising number of cases are Omicron variant

Nicola Sturgeon has updated the Scottish Parliament on the latest Covid restrictions amid the new Omicron variant.

There are concerns around the rise in the number of cases of the new variant.

Today, Scotland's national clinical director warned more schools and businesses could close in the lead up to Christmas as health experts "hit Omicron hard"

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Nicola Sturgeon is to give a Covid update on the Omicron cases

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First Minister to brief Scottish Parliament on Omicron variant

Last updated: Tuesday, 07 December, 2021, 15:21

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Nicola Sturgeon has updated parliament on the latest on Omicron in Scotland.

Around four per cent of Covid-19 cases in Scotland are likely to be the new Omicron variant, with that figure “steadily rising”, Nicola Sturgeon has said.

The First Minister said a variant that is “more transmissible than Delta, and which has even a limited ability to evade natural or vaccine immunity, has the potential to put very intense additional pressure on the health service”.

She has urged Scots to work from home until mid January to help control the spread of coronavirus.

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The First Minister said a variant that is “more transmissible than Delta, and which has even a limited ability to evade natural or vaccine immunity, has the potential to put very intense additional pressure on the health service”.

“The sheer weight of numbers of people who could be infected as a result of increased transmissibility and some immunity evasion will create this pressure even if the disease the new variant causes in individuals is no more severe than Delta,” she said.

She also urged Scots to follow rules around testing and self-isolation should they have symptoms, as well as regular lateral flow testing.

“I am not excluding myself from this,” she said.

“I am currently doing a test every morning before coming to work and I will do a test on any occasion I mix with others over the festive period. I will ask anyone visiting my home over Christmas to do likewise.”

Ms Sturgeon also urged MSPs to “lead by example” on testing and she urged the public to stick with restrictions.

“By doing that, we do give ourselves the best possible chance of enjoying a Christmas that is more normal, but also safe – and of avoiding a new year hangover of spiralling cases,” she said.

Nicola Sturgeon says more must be done to get vaccinations to the population of the world.

She says Covid is a global crisis. She says she will write to the PM and until everyone is safe no one is safe.

Nicola Sturgeon has said that letters have once again gone out to those who haven’t been vaccinated. She says it is more important than ever. She adds omicron is an “unwelcome development” but the actions taken for other variants will work.

She says that she also understands what she is asking employers and workers to not work in the office, but she says that maximising home working can help stem transmission.

Anas Sarwar asks what the plan is for the booster vaccination over the festive period. He asks if there are plans for further drop in centres.

He says that NHS catch up must be the response to Covid. He calls for detailed updates on the moves being taken in the NHS to get the service back to pre-Covid levels.

Nicola Sturgeon says that she frequently gives updates on the NHS, adding that updating the guidance had been a factor in a small number of people being turned away.

Douglas Ross hits out at the rising A&E figures and also asks if Nicola Sturgeon and the government continue to aim to keep schools open following the closure of a school in Paisley.

He says the Scottish Govt “has failed to do enough to prevent this crisis escalating”,

He also asks about the difficulty of the new process for patients to see GPs.

Nicola Sturgeon says that Scotland is no different to A&E performance is no way near where they want it to be it is still performing better than counterparts in the UK and that the pressure of Covid has had an impact.

She adds that preventing schools from closing will be at the heart of what the government do.

The UK Health Security Agency said a further 101 confirmed cases of the Omicron variant have been reported in the UK on Tuesday.

This brings the total number of UK cases to 437.

Of the 101 new cases, one was confirmed in Wales while there have been no new cases reported in Northern Ireland

Nicola Sturgeon has stressed the importance of working from home and regular testing in stemming the rise in cases.

The First Minister told MSPs that advice would remain to work from home when possible until at least the middle of January.

“I know this is difficult, but I cannot stress enough how much difference we think this could make in helping stem transmission and avoid the need for even more onerous measures,” she said.

She also urged Scots to follow rules around testing and self-isolation should they have symptoms, as well as regular lateral flow testing.

“I am not excluding myself from this,” she said.

“I am currently doing a test every morning before coming to work and I will do a test on any occasion I mix with others over the festive period. I will ask anyone visiting my home over Christmas to do likewise.”

Ms Sturgeon also urged MSPs to “lead by example” on testing.

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