Health

What has Nicola Sturgeon said today – all the Omicron Christmas measures announced



Nicola Sturgeon gave her Covid update to Parliament today, announcing new measures to deal with Omicron which is set to cause a “tsunami” of cases in Scotland

It marked the first minister’s third announcement in seven days, having given briefings both last Tuesday and Friday on the developing Omicron situation in Scotland. 

And it’s not the last we will see of Scotland’s leader today, with a televised address expected later this evening. 

The Scottish government announced on Sunday that their booster vaccine programme would be extended, aiming to offer all adults over 18 the third jab before the new year. 

Three jabs is thought to be more effective in preventing serious illness against Omicron, pushing the governments of the four nations to make ambitious targets for administering boosters. 

Today, Nicola Sturgeon offered further details on this rollout, as well as announcing new measures to try and curb the spread of Covid over the festive season. 

Here’s what we learned from Nicola Sturgeon’s Covid update today…

1. Urge to limit socialising to 3 households

Nicola Sturgeon is urging Scots to limit socialising to a maximum of three households at a time. 

However, this measure is only advised and therefore not required by law

The first minister said: “We are not banning or restricting household mixing in law as before. We understand the negative impact this has on mental health and wellbeing.”

She added: “So my key request today is this – before and immediately after Christmas, please minimise your social mixing with other households as much as you can.

“However, if you do plan on socialising – either at home or in indoor public places – we are asking that you limit the number of households represented in your group to a maximum of 3. And make sure you test before you go.”

2. Legal requirement on businesses to introduce additional measures 

More details on this will be published later this week, however, the first minister did give some examples of the additional measures required by businesses. 

For retail, it will include “a return to the kind of protections from the start of the pandemic – like measures to avoid crowding and bottlenecks. This will include physical distancing, measures to control the flow of customers, and protective screens.”

For hospitality, “it will mean for example, measures to avoid crowding at bars and between tables, and a reminder of the requirement to collect contact details of customers to help with contact tracing.”

3. Christmas not cancelled – but guidance issued 

The first minister said: “I’m not asking anyone to ‘cancel’ Christmas, but in the run up to and in the aftermath of Christmas, I’m asking everyone to reduce, as far as possible and to a minimum, the contacts we have with people in other households.

She added that the government was not issuing guidance on the size of gatherings on Christmas eve, Christmas day or Boxing Day, but advised that keeping gatherings as small as reasonable was sensible. 

4. Two known Omicron cases in hospital in Scotland

There are currently two people in hospital with known Omicron, however this number is likely to be higher. 

5. R number for Omicron could be above 4

The R number for Omicron could be above 4, according to Sturgeon, meaning it could be far more transmissible than Delta. 

The first minister said: “The R number associated with Delta is around 1. But the R number for Omicron appears to be well over 2, and possibly above 4.”

She added that this was why Scotland was facing a “tsunami” of cases. 

6. Don’t put off getting a PCR test

PCR test results were down slightly over the past 24-hours, leading the first minister to urge people not to put off going for a PCR test. 

Sturgeon said: “3,177 positive cases were reported yesterday – 11.3% of all tests carried out.

“The number of PCR tests yesterday was lower than in recent days – I therefore want to appeal to people not to put off going for a PCR test if you have symptoms or a positive lateral flow.

“I know no-one wants to test positive or isolate at Christmas – but testing is a vital part of our defence and there is no shortage of capacity. So, please do get tested.”

7. 18-29-year-olds can book booster from tomorrow 

The first minister confirmed that 18-29-year-olds will be invited to book their booster jabs from tomorrow. 

She added that the Scottish government aimed to reach 80% vaccine uptake among the population by the end of December. 

The additional capacity needed to administer these jabs will come through prioritising Covid boosters over the flu jab roll out. 

In addition, the requirement for people to wait in a vaccine centre for 15 minutes after receiving the Covid jab will be dropped. 

 

 





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