Health

Covid Scotland: What did Nicola Sturgeon say today as post-Christmas rules announced?



Nicola Sturgeon gave her weekly Covid update to MSPs today before Parliament concludes for recess on Friday. 

Cabinet met this morning to discuss whether more rules would be introduced in the coming days. 

The first minister suggested yesterday that Christmas would go ahead as planned, saying: “We’re not asking people to cancel or change their plans, but think about how to make them safer.”

It comes as Boris Johnson refused to rule out introducing festive measures to curb the virus in England after his cabinet met on Monday afternoon. 

Meanwhile, earlier today chancellor Rishi Sunak announced £1 billion worth of support for sectors hit by the current situation, hinting that more measures in England could be on their way. 

Sturgeon has been calling on the UK government to release more funds to the devolved nations, with today’s announcement meaning an extra £80 million for Scotland

As Omicron continues to cause problems around the UK, here’s what we learned from Nicola Sturgeon’s Covid update this afternoon. 

1. Gatherings at public events limited 

A cap on the number of people at public events is to be introduced.

For indoor standing events the limit will be 100; for indoor seated events it will be 200; and for outdoor events it will be 500 seated or standing.

Physical distancing of 1 metre will be required at events that go ahead within these limits.

This means that sports matches, including football, will be effectively spectator-free over this three week period. 

This cap will be implemented from Sunday December 26 and last for a period of three weeks, after which it will be reviewed.  

It also means that events such as the Edinburgh Hogmanay street party, which in the past as seen up to 75,000 attendees, will not be allowed to go ahead. 

This advice does not apply to private events such as weddings. 

2. Limit socialising from December 27 – including Hogmanay

The first minister is urging people to stay at home as much as possible from December 27, including Hogmanay. 

Sturgeon said: “From 27 December – as we come out of the Christmas weekend –  and at least until the end of the first week in January when we will review this advice again, please go back to limiting your contacts as much as possible.

“Please stay at home as much as possible. When you do go out, please maintain physical distancing from people not in your group.

“And difficult though it is, please follow this advice over New Year – minimise Hogmanay socialising as much as you can.”

3. New rules for hospitality, including social distancing and table service

A requirement for table service only will be reintroduced for venues serving alcohol for consumption on the premises.

Indoor hospitality and leisure venues will also be asked to ensure 1 metre distance, not within, but between groups of people who are attending together.

The Scottish government will also continue to advise people that if they are attending indoor hospitality or leisure venues there should be no more than 3 households represented in any group.

This will be introduced from December 27 for three weeks. 

4. Advice for Christmas not changing

The advice for Christmas is not changing, the first minister confirmed today. 

She said: “Firstly, we are not changing the advice for Christmas that I set out last week.

“It is important that with just a few days to go, there is certainty about family gatherings on Christmas Day and Boxing Day.

“I am not asking anyone to change these. However – and I cannot stress this enough – please follow advice to keep family celebrations as safe as possible.”

Sturgeon added that gatherings should be kept as small as circumstances allow and people should take lateral flow tests before socialising as well as limiting contact in the run up to Christmas. 

5. Further £100 million of support from Scottish government

The Scottish government will find a further £100 million for businesses hit by the current situation, in addition to the money released by the UK government. 

The first minister said: “I can, however, announce that the Scottish Government will allocate a further £100 million from elsewhere in our budget between now and the end of the financial year.

“This will involve difficult decisions but the impact of the current crisis on business is such that we consider it essential.

“Taken together, this adds up to a fund of £375 million that will help support business for the unavoidable impacts of our decisions over the next 3 weeks. This is significantly more – proportionately – than the Chancellor has announced for the UK as a a whole.”

6. 5,242 new cases of Covid in Scotland

A further 5,242 new cases of Covid have been recorded in the past 24-hours, as well as a further 9 deaths. 

515 people are in hospital with Covid, and 37 in intensive care. 

Cases have increased by more than 50% in the past week – from over 3,500 a day to almost 5,500 a day.

7. Non-professional indoor contact sport limited for three weeks

The Scottish government will also introduce new guidance against non-professional adult indoor contact sport in the three weeks following Christmas. 

 





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