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Covid-19 Update from the First Minister

During her COVID-19 update today which focused on the new Omicron variant, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon covered the following (29/11/21):

  • The FM gave a review of what was currently known about the Omicron variant of COVID-19. She noted that there was still much to be figured out about its potential impact and transmissibility but said that this new variant may be the “most challenging” part of the pandemic.
  • The FM noted that six cases of the Omicron variant had been discovered, with cases found in Lanarkshire and Glasgow. She pointed out that there may have been community transmission already but that this was not known for sure and the government was looking into it.
  • The FM outlined the measures that had been and would be taken. She called for increased compliance with the rules currently in place, especially with home working. She further noted that additional testing would be put in place to track the new variant. The FM also announced that there had been a list of 10 countries put on a new red list for travel and that this was under constant review.
  • The FM said that she and the Welsh FM had written to the Prime Minister calling for a more stringent testing process – including a return to day eight PCR testing. The letter also included a call for the PM to convene a COBRA meeting to discuss this issue and the funding for it.
  • The FM closed by arguing that a “precautionary” approach was what was required and noting that her government would proceed on a “proportionate” basis. She also urged viewers to ensure that they get vaccinated, despite saying that Omicron may be slightly less vulnerable to it. Finally, she reiterated her calls for everyone to follow all the measures and rules in place.
  • During the following session of questions from journalists, the Mail asked the FM to comment on holidaymakers and whether they should cancel their plans. The FM said that she was not willing to do so just now and noted that countries around the world were dealing with similar issues. When pushed by another journalist on the possibility of the PM refusing the requested additional travel measures, the FM replied that she was hopeful of a four nations approach.

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