The First Minister updated the Scottish Parliament today on the country’s coronavirus situation as cases surge to their highest throughout the pandemic.
Scots have been urged to limit their social contact over the New Year period and ‘at least’ throughout the first week of January to curb the spread of the virus.
While no further restrictions were announced on Wednesday afternoon, an update was given on self isolation periods, the current PCR testing situation, and support for businesses which have been hit by the latest restrictions which came in on December 27.
Here are five things that we learned in Nicola Sturgeon’s coronavirus update.
1. Scotland has recorded the highest number of Covid infections to date
The latest Covid figures have revealed that a further 15,849 new cases of Covid-19 have been recorded.
Unfortunately, three more people have died who tested positive for the virus over the past 28 days.
Ms Sturgeon said there were “grounds for optimism” because the rise in infections in recent weeks had not translated into a corresponding rise in hospital admissions.
2. No further restrictions in Scotland will be brought in at the moment
All of the temporary measures introduced in recent days are to be reviewed after three weeks on Tuesday, January 11.
On Monday, The Scottish Government yesterday revealed a breakdown of recorded cases over the festive period – totalling nearly 30,000.
This week, new restrictions have been introduced on venue capacity with live events, football matches, and Hogmanay celebrations taking a hit.
Social distancing of 1m has also been reintroduced as well as table service in hospitality establishments, in an attempt to stop the number of Omicron cases in the country.
Ms Sturgeon said that at this time, no further restrictions would be brought in, but Scots were urged to continue following government advice to help curb the spread.
3. How first £100m support for business will be allocated
In her update, Ms Sturgeon has given details of how the first £100 million of support for businesses will be allocated.
£16 million will be made available to support public transport providers through existing COVID support schemes.
£27 million will go to the culture sector, and a further £17 million to the events sector.
A further £32 million will be allocated to hospitality and leisure businesses, with an additional £10 million for those parts of the hospitality industry most severely impacted by the requirement for table service.
And up to £5 million will be available for nightclubs required to close.
Ms Sturgeon said: “We are also working closely with the sports sector. Sporting events are obviously affected by the limit on spectators, and also by cancellations due to COVID absences – however we also know that some of this impact will be alleviated by the rescheduling of events.
“So we want to make sure that the support we provide is effectively targeted and we will confirm further details soon.
“In total, we have now reached decisions on the allocation of £207 million of the £375 million being made available for business support.
“Councils are now working to get that money into bank accounts as fast as possible.
“And decisions on the allocation of the remaining funds will be confirmed following consultation with affected sectors on how it can best be targeted.”
4. Decisions on self isolation periods to be made by January 5
The First Minister confirmed that the government hope to reach decisions on self isolation times on January 5.
In England, people who have tested positive for Covid can stop self isolating after seven days if they test negative on a lateral flow on days six and seven and if they are fully vaccinated.
There have been calls to cut this period further to just five days to ease pressures on industries affected by staffing issues because of those self isolating.
5. Continue to follow Scottish Government guidance
Ms Sturgeon has urged Scots to continue to follow the guidance in place to held reduce the spread of Covid. She reminded Scots to:
- Get vaccinated
- Test regularly
- Work from home where possible
- Stay at home and reduce contact with others as much as possible
- Limit the number of households in your group to three if meeting up
- Wear a face covering which covers your nose and mouth on public transport, when in shops, and when moving around in a hospitality setting.