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First Minister’s Statement 18th January 2022

The First Minister updated Parliament today on COVID-19 and confirmed that additional measures aimed at stemming the spread of the Omicron variant whilst the vaccination booster programme took effect are to be lifted.

The First Minister provided a Covid-19 update to the Scottish Parliament which covered the following issues:

  • Latest statistics: 7,752 positive cases were reported yesterday through PCR and LFTs. 1,546 people are in hospital with Covid (-21) and 59 people are in intensive care (+1). A further 31 deaths were reported, taking the total number of deaths under the daily definition to 10,093.
  • The FM confirmed the Scottish Government’s steps in lifting the protective measures against omicron which were introduced in December. She added that “the data gives us confidence that we have turned the corner on the Omicron wave” but “significant pressures and uncertainties remain”. She claimed that a combination of booster vaccinations, the willingness of the public to adapt behaviours, and the “temporary protective measures” had helped suppress the impact of the Omicron wave.
  • The following measures would be lifted from Monday 24th January: limits on attendance at indoor public events, the requirement for 1m social distancing in indoor public places, table service in hospitality venues serving alcohol, and the closure of nightclubs. Furthermore, from this date, the guidance on asking people to stick to the three household limit with indoor gatherings would be removed.
  • However, the mitigation measures that were in place before omicron will be retained at this stage. She also noted that the Scottish Government would not extend the vaccine certification scheme to other venues.
  • People will continue to be asked to work from home whenever possible, with employers asked to facilitate this. However, the Government will engage with businesses now about a return to a more hybrid approach from the start of February if case numbers continue to decline.

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