Omicron variant: Don't cancel Christmas plans yet, Nicola Sturgeon tells Scots

Scots have been told there is no need to cancel Christmas plans yet as a result of the new Covid variant Omicron.

In a Covid-19 media briefing on Monday, Nicola Sturgeon refused to rule out lockdown-style restrictions in future, after the first cases of Omicron were identified in Scotland.

But she said not enough is known about the variant to put restrictions in place yet, and added she “fervently hopes” to have a a normal Christmas this year.

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“I'm not asking anybody today to put plans on hold,” she said.

People are seen walking through a festive themed arch at the Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh on November 25, 2021 in Edinburgh, Scotland. Photo by Peter Summers/Getty Images
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But she added: “I will during this next phase of the pandemic if this proves necessary.

“As we learn more over the days, I'll do what I've done at previous stages – I’ll stand here and try to share with you in a real-time basis what we’re asking people to do and why.

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“Right now what I’m asking people to do is really up the level of compliance with all of the protections that are still in place. I think it’s really important that we see these for what they are, which are protections, not restrictions.”

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The First Minister said she expects Scots will be thinking about possible contingencies if plans are forced to change because of the new variant.

“I’m not asking you to change your plans,” she said.

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"I know it’s three weeks to Christmas and none of us, including me, wanted to be in a position where I’m standing here again talking about a new variant that is posing risks.

“If any of our advice changes it’s important that we do that in a proper way and we communicate it in a proper way.”

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She added: “Standing here right now I still hope, really fervently hope, to be having a normal Christmas with my family. Can I say that in a 100 per cent sense? No, but that’s what I hope and I think that’s what we should be all be hopeful of as we learn more about this variant.”

Ms Sturgeon urged people to ensure compliance with protection measures in place, including wearing face coverings, washing hands and cleaning surfaces.

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