First Minister to give Covid update as case numbers rise in Scotland

New restrictions were introduced in response to concerns over the Omicron variant.

First Minister to give Covid update as case numbers rise in Scotland Flickr

Nicola Sturgeon is to give a Covid-19 update at the Scottish Parliament, after the country recorded almost 30,000 new cases over the Christmas weekend.

The First Minister will make a statement to MSPs on Wednesday amidst a rise in the number of people testing positive for the virus.

A total of 8252 cases were reported on December 25, 11,030 on December 26, 10,562 on December 27, and 9360 on December 28.

The figures mark the highest daily totals recorded since the start of the pandemic.

However, a lag in reporting may mean that the majority of those cases will relate to tests carried out before the Christmas break.

And due to a longer turnaround time for results, the actual number of Covid-19 cases may be higher.

Further data will be set out on Wednesday.

Responding to the publication of the figures, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said: “While these figures remain provisional, the significantly increased transmissibility of Omicron is reflected in the steep increase in cases now materialising, and we would expect to see case numbers rise further in the days to come.

“I am grateful for the continued efforts of the public in complying with the guidance issued in the run up to Christmas. Without this, it is likely that the figures would have been even higher.

“These figures serve to underline the importance of people continuing to get ‘boosted by the Bells’ and following the guidance to help slow the spread of Covid while we complete the accelerated booster programme.”

The figures come shortly after new restrictions were introduced in Scotland, with fresh measures being imposed on the hospitality sector.

Those include one-metre social distancing and table service only in bars.

Nightclubs have also been closed, whilst further measures have also been put in place for cinemas, theatres and restaurants.

Large sporting events are also now virtually spectator free, with only 500 fans being allowed in at matches in the Scottish Premiership – with the league opting to bring forward its winter break.

The derby fixture between Celtic and Rangers, due to take place on January 2, will now take place on February 2.

Ahead of the statement by the First Minister, Scottish Labour has urged the Scottish Government to confirm whether self-isolation requirements will be changed in line with evidence.

The period required for self-isolation in England was reduced last week from 10 to seven days.

It means that those in self-isolation in England will be able to end their isolation on or after seven days if they receive a negative lateral flow device test result on days six and seven.

Scottish Labour’s health and Covid recovery spokesperson Jackie Baillie explained that businesses and jobs continue to be “substantially affected” by the impact of Omicron and Covid restrictions.

“Much remains unknown about where we stand in relation to omicron, but there is cautious optimism with recent studies into the severity of this new strain of the virus,” said Baillie.

“We are seeing an increase in case numbers which you would expect given how transmissible omicron is, but thankfully we are not yet seeing a similar rise in hospital admissions.

“Businesses and jobs continue to be substantially affected, particularly in hospitality and retail, and I expect both the Scottish and UK governments to work together to provide certainty and financial support.

“The SNP must use this update to confirm whether they will change self-isolation requirements in line with the latest evidence, to stop staff absences piling yet more pressure on businesses and services this winter.” 

Baillie added: “We also need reassurance that the SNP have a real plan to keep schools safe and open next term. 

“All decisions must be rooted in evidence and accompanied by the support needed to save jobs and businesses.”

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