‘We need more Omicron data before introducing tougher Covid measures’

Professor Jason Leitch said it is still too early to introduce more restrictions because scientists 'do not have enough information'.

The information gathered about Omicron over the Christmas period will determine whether tougher Covid restrictions are needed in Scotland, the national clinical director has said.

Professor Jason Leitch said it is still too early to introduce tighter measures because scientists do not have enough data about the new variant.

Nearly 6000 new covid cases were recorded in the country during the last 24 hours.

Prof Leitch told STV News: “There are a number of things that could happen, most of which depend on the data we need to see what happens to the pandemic and to the science of the pandemic.

“So it’s not just about Scotland’s numbers, it’s about what we learn about severity of disease, vaccine escape over the next few days and weeks.”

A Cobra meeting between the devolved nations was held on Sunday night to discuss funding in the fight against the pandemic.

He said: “The Welsh example is one where they’ve made some relatively minor changes now but they’re also anticipating some changes further on into the post-Christmas period.

“UK-wide discussions are a constructive thing to do. We will meet with the First Minister, after that, the UK clinicians meet regularly to talk about what’s happening with the science.”

Prof Leitch added: “The challenge here is partly what we don’t know.

“When the First Minister asks us questions, there are unfortunately times when we simply don’t know the facts.

“Twitter pretends to know and it doesn’t help us. What we actually need is evidence, not anecdote, about severity of disease, hospitalisations and then we can give the advice for the Omicron wave.

“That’s really difficult to say because Omicron has only existed here for three weeks.”

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