Health

Nicola Sturgeon’s next Covid update to MSPs before Christmas confirmed


NICOLA Sturgeon is set to give a coronavirus update tomorrow in the Scottish Parliament.

The First Minister is scheduled to address MSPs in Holyrood as tensions heighten around further curbs to combat the Omicron surge.

Parliament is set to break up from Christmas Eve until January 9 – however multiple sources have told The Herald Ms Sturgeon wants to recall members before the New Year.

Tuesday, December 28 was being mooted as the date for the return to the chamber to discuss further measures. Ms Sturgeon denied having any current plans to do so, however two independent sources confirmed it is being actively considered dependent on the escalation of infection.

The latest virus update tomorrow comes as the Chancellor handed more cash to devolved administrations to mitigate the economic strain of current restrictions – leaving the door open for tighter curbs.

And a senior UK Government minister has not ruled out further measures being introduced in England before Christmas.

Ms Sturgeon’s update in parliament will take place around 2.20pm.

Speaking in Holyrood during last week’s update, Ms Sturgeon insisted that “our public health response is curtailed by lack of finance” from the UK Government.

She added that “there are further steps we could and would have considered…had we had the financial ability to do so”, pointing specifically to hospitality.

The Treasury has now doubled the £220 million it offered the Scottish Government last week to £440 million after discussions with devolved officials.

But last night, the First Minister has warned that the initial £220 million “was not new or additional”, adding that “it was actually £48 million less than we had been expecting”.


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Ms Sturgeon warned that “an infections soar and businesses suffer, we still need much urgency” in action and support from the UK Government.

She added: “To that end, it was disappointing and frustrating that neither the PM nor the Chancellor attended this evening’s COBRA.”

The Treasury said the additional cash will help ensure the Scottish Government can take the Covid precautions they feel are necessary to keep people safe.

Mr Sunak said: “Following discussions with the devolved administrations, we are now doubling the additional funding available.

“We will continue to listen to and work with the devolved administrations in the face of this serious health crisis to ensure we’re getting the booster to people all over the UK and that people in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are supported.”

 

On Sunday, Scotland recorded one new coronavirus death and 5,924 new positive cases within the previous 24 hours.

Registry offices are generally closed at weekends, affecting the numbers of deaths recorded.

It brings the Covid-19 death toll in Scotland under the daily measure – of people who first tested positive for the virus within the previous 28 days – to 9,781.





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