Covid Scotland: Humza Yousaf warns of new variants amid ‘fragile state’

Scotland remains in a “fragile state” over the coronavirus pandemic despite coming “through the worst” of the Omicron variant, Health Secretary Humza Yousaf has said.

On Sunday, 24 people were in intensive care with Covid-19, the lowest figure since July, with 958 people in hospital – the fewest since early January.

In recent weeks, measures put in place to stem the rise of the Omicron variant – which included the closing of nightclubs and reintroduction of social distancing between groups in leisure and hospitality premises – were eased after ministers judged a prediction of 50,000 daily infections would not come to pass.

Speaking on BBC Radio Scotland’s Good Morning Scotland programme on Monday, Mr Yousaf said: “I think we’re through the worst of it.”

He added:“I definitely think the last few weeks of December and the first few weeks of January – that five to six-week period – was probably the worst… and most intense period the health service has ever come under in its 73-year existence.

“That’s not coming from me, that’s coming from people… who have been working there for decades and decades.”

Despite the downturn in cases of the new variant, the Health Secretary cautioned there was still substantial pressure being exerted on the health service.

“While we’re through, perhaps, the worst of it, we should also say that there is still significant pressure on the health service,” he said.

“That pressure comes from the continued number of Covid patients, they’re just under 1,000, thankfully, who are in hospital with Covid.

“It also comes from the cumulative impact of two years of a pandemic and having to catch up with that significant backlog.”

Mr Yousaf also said “extensive” infection control measures placed on dentistry services would not be eased until the spread of Covid-19 reduced further, while he raised the possibility of another variant of the virus.

“Until we are in a more endemic state in relation to Covid, until we are able to get back to even more normality than we have at the moment, then I’m afraid those infection prevention and control measures – in some shape or form – are going to have to remain.

“Our recovery is going to have to work around what is currently still a quite fragile state.

“Any clinician or public health expert that I’ve spoken to, nobody suggested that Omicron was the last variant that we’ll see.”

Previous ArticleNext Article

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *