Health

Covid Scotland: What did Nicola Sturgeon say in unscheduled update today?



Nicola Sturgeon gave an unscheduled Covid update to Parliament today as the Omicron situation in Scotland worsens.

Just minutes before the announcement, the first minister confirmed she would be giving an update to Parliament with the agreement of the Presiding Officer. 

Here’s what Nicola Sturgeon’s update said today…

1. Omicron to be dominant strain by tomorrow 

The Omicron variant looks set to be the dominant strain of Covid in Scotland by tomorrow, the first minister confirmed. 

Yesterday 5,155 more Covid cases were recorded in Scotland yesterday. 

The UK saw the most cases ever recorded on Wednesday at 78,610, however this record is expected to be broken numerous times in the coming days.

2. Nicola Sturgeon “profoundly concerned” 

The first minister said she was “profoundly concerned” by the threat posed by Omicron to the health service. 

On vaccines, the first minister said: “We must understand that Omicron is currently running faster than even the fastest roll out of vaccines – and also, a key point, that the immune protection from vaccination is not immediate.”

She added: “Even if Omicron’s impact on individual health is milder than other variants – and we have no evidence of that yet – many will still become severely unwell and die, and the sheer number of people infected will present a massive challenge.”

Hospitalisations are rising sharply in London where the strain is most prevalent, with Sturgeon warning that if “we don’t act now, what we have feared all along but so far avoided – the overwhelming of the NHS – could happen.”

3. Reduce contact with people outside own household 

The first minister “strongly underlined” the advice she gave on Tuesday regarding social contact. 

Guidelines introduced on Tuesday asked people to limit socialising to a maximum of three households. 

This guidance is not law, however strongly advised by the Scottish government to protect both people and the health service. 

The first minister said: “Right now, the risk of getting Covid from interactions with others is high and rising.

“So ask yourself before doing anything you might have planned over the coming days – is it as safe as it needs to be, and is it vital enough to justify that risk.”

4. Urgent engagement from Prime Minister and Chancellor required

Nicola Sturgeon has written to the UK Prime Minister this morning and asked to speak to him later today about the prospect of more money for the devolved nations to support businesses who are hit hardest by the spread of Omicron. 

The first minister said: “The fact is – business now needs the type and scale of financial support that was available earlier in the pandemic.

“However, there are simply no mechanisms available to the devolved administrations to trigger the finance needed to support such schemes. We need the UK government to act – urgently and in the way some other countries are already doing.”

 





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