Health

What will Nicola Sturgeon say in Omicron update today as Christmas nears?



Nicola Sturgeon is set to hold an emergency Covid briefing today as the UK continues to report record numbers of cases. 

In an unscheduled update on Thursday before First Minister’s Questions, Nicola Sturgeon said she was “profoundly concerned” about the threat posed by Omicron. 

On Tuesday the government introduced some new measures to try and curb the spread of the virus, however top health expert Deepti Gurdasani, an epidemiologist from the Queen Mary University of London, has since said a circuit breaker lockdown may be necessary to protect the NHS. 

Meanwhile the first minister herself warned yesterday that further restrictions “may now be unavoidable” as she wrote to Boris Johnson asking for more economic support for the devolved nations, to allow governments to support businesses hit by measures.

With the next briefing scheduled for 12:15pm today, here’s what Nicola Sturgeon could announce…

What could Nicola Sturgeon announce today? 

Throughout the week, ministers have said that new restrictions may be required to curb the rapid rise in cases. 

Warnings have come from both John Swinney and Nicola Sturgeon, who have said while they “hoped” new restrictions would not be necessary, the prospect could not be ruled out. 

Today’s briefing will be the third Covid update from the first minister this week, having updated Parliament on Tuesday and Thursday. 

Yesterday, Scotland recorded 5,961 new cases on Covid, and the first minister confirmed that Omicron was likely to be the dominant strain by Friday. 

It means that we could see increased measures implemented today and with just 8-days to go until Christmas, this could include tighter restrictions on socialising. 

So far, the calls for extra support from the UK government to support businesses hit by the new wave of infections have been rejected, but if the Chancellor releases more funds, further rules on hospitality could be brought in. 

Speaking on Thursday the first minister said that a lack of financial support from the UK government could be destructive to the economic recovery.

She said: “If left unchecked, Omicron will deliver a significant economic shock that will see lack of staff and pressure on already stressed supply chains lead directly to business failure.

“Frankly, if we do not get Omicron under control we are sacrificing the economic recovery we all want to see.”

Finally, the new wave of infections has raised questions over schools, and whether they will close early for Christmas. 

So far the government has been adament that schools would not shut early, with most finishing term in the middle of next week. 

However, as cases continue to spiral, will they choose to reverse this advice? 

Nicola Sturgeon will give her update at 12:15pm today, joined by Scotland’s chief medical officer Dr Gregor Smith. 

 





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