In a virtual sitting of the Scottish Parliament, the First Minister Nicola Sturgeon provided a Covid-19 update covering the following:
Setting out the latest statistics, the First Minister stated that 16,103 positive cases were reported yesterday, 1,223 were in hospital with Covid, 42 were in intensive care, and there were a further 5 deaths, taking the total number of deaths under the daily definition to 9,872. The FM added that, due to the omicron variant, tomorrow’s figures would likely show that Scotland would pass 1m reported Covid cases.
She confirmed that there would be no additional measures introduced by the Scottish Government but that existing measures, such as 1m social distancing in hospitality, limitations on event numbers and closure in nightclubs, would likely remain in place until 17 January. In addition, while this is not legally binding, the Scottish Government would continue to advise the public to limit contact with people in other households as far as possible – and to limit the number of households in any indoor gathering to a maximum of 3.
She confirmed that the Scottish Government is working on a new strategic framework, expected to be published “within the next few weeks”, on new measures to manage Covid-19 which are “more proportionate and sustainable and less restrictive.”
The FM unveiled two changes to self-isolation rules, mirroring the approach taken in other parts of the UK, which would come into effect from midnight: (1) the self-isolation period for Covid cases would be cut from 10 days to 7, if people record two negative tests and have no symptoms; and (2) for close contacts of positive cases, the requirement to self-isolate will end and be replaced by a requirement to take a lateral flow test every day for 7 days.
Following on from her announcement last week on business support, the FM noted an allocation of a further £55m. This would include up to £28m to taxi and private hire drivers and operators, £19m supporting services such as beauticians and hairdressers, £5m for sport, and an additional £3m for tourism.