New Covid isolation rules in force in face of ‘infection tsunami’

Changes to what people must do when a household contact tests positive came into effect on Saturday.

New Covid isolation rules in force in face of ‘infection tsunami’ iStock
Nicola Sturgeon said the change, introduced on Saturday, was "essential" as she warned of a potential “tsunami” of infections.

New Covid isolation rules have come into force in the face of rising cases of the infectious Omicron coronavirus variant.

The household contacts of any person who tests positive for Covid should now isolate for ten days regardless of their vaccination status and even if they initially get a negative PCR test.

Nicola Sturgeon said the change, introduced on Saturday, was “essential” as she warned of a potential “tsunami” of infections.

The First Minister urged people to defer any planned Christmas parties this year, saying the Omicron variant is “significantly” more transmissible than the dominant Delta variant.

Public Health Scotland said there was particular concern about the number of Omicron cases associated with Christmas gatherings as it urged the public to cancel plans.

There have been 110 Omicron cases confirmed across the country.

The UK will exceed more than one million Omicron infections by the end of the month if current trends continue unchanged, the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) said on Friday.

NHS Lanarkshire has suspended all but “essential” visiting across its hospitals amid the rise in Omicron coronavirus variant cases and pressure on the health service.

Around 40 A&E workers at Hairmyres Hospital in East Kilbride are self-isolating following an outbreak of the variant linked to their Christmas party.

A second ward has shut its doors at a hospital in the Highlands after an outbreak of coronavirus.

Tests are being assessed to determine if the Covid-19 cases are of the new Omicron variant at Raigmore Hospital in Inverness.

The decision to advise Scots to cancel their Christmas parties is a ‘heavy blow’ for hospitality, an industry expert has said.

On December 19 last year, the First Minister announced that the majority of Scotland would enter full lockdown from Boxing Day.

Restrictions had been relaxed on Christmas Day 2020 but were then scaled back due to confirmation from scientists of a faster-spreading coronavirus strain.