Nicola Sturgeon to update Holyrood over coronavirus restrictions

Nicola Sturgeon will address MSPs amid signs the spread of the Omicron variant is 'starting to slow' across Scotland.

Nicola Sturgeon to update Holyrood over coronavirus restrictions STV News
Update: First Minister to address MSPs over Covid-19 restrictions.

The First Minister is set to address Holyrood with an update on coronavirus restrictions, after suggesting plans are afoot for a long-term shift away from extensive curbs on daily life.

Nicola Sturgeon will update MSPs on Tuesday amid signs the spread of the Omicron variant is “starting to slow” across Scotland.

The First Minister spoke on Monday of “learning to live with Covid” in an interview with STV current affairs show Scotland Tonight and said she hoped the Omicron situation was improving.

Current restrictions imposed by the Scottish Government include indoor gatherings being limited to 100 people, while a maximum of 500 are allowed at outdoor events such as football matches.

Premiership clubs are hoping the curbs are lifted before top-flight action resumes following the winter break on January 17.

However self-isolation periods will not be reduced further from seven to five days according to health secretary Humza Yousaf, which Boris Johnson is considering implementing in England. 

Sturgeon said: “We are still in a very challenging situation with Omicron as many, many countries across the world are. That challenge is particularly acute for the National Health Service.

“But I would say that, but for the protective measures we introduced before Christmas and but for the very responsible behaviour of the public, I think we would be in an even more challenging situation right now.

“Some of our projections pre-Christmas have not quite come to pass because we’ve managed to mitigate to some extent what the Omicron wave would otherwise have presented for us.”

Ahead of the update on Tuesday, Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross said Scots “need to see some light at the end of the tunnel”.

He said: “It’s time for the First Minister to produce a timetable on the new strategic framework that she promised.

“People want reassurance that restrictions won’t stay in force for a moment longer than absolutely necessary.

“After almost two years of sacrifice, the public need to see a bold timetable from the Scottish Government that will enable us to live safely with Covid.”

Scottish Labour’s health and Covid recovery spokesperson Jackie Baillie said: “People and businesses need urgent answers – but too often the SNP have seemed more concerned with spin than facts. 

“We need to make sure any and all restrictions are rooted firmly in the evidence, and backed up by proper financial support. 

“We also need a real plan to protect health and social care, which have been pushed to breaking point due to staffing shortages. Hospitals up and down the country are struggling to cope, and the lack of social care packages are leaving vulnerable people stranded without support. 

“The First Minister must provide the real solutions we need to protect lives and livelihoods through this wave.”