Nicola Sturgeon releases new Covid advice to Scotland

First minister requests public to keep festive celebrations as small as possible due to family circumstances

Nicola Sturgeon releases new Covid advice to Scotland

Scots should limit indoor social mixing to three households during the festive season. However, family Christmas celebrations are allowed, Nicola Sturgeon said.

Scotland's first minister stressed that no one should cancel Christmas Day plans. This was to help slow the spread Omicron variant, while the booster programme accelerates in the country.

Sturgeon asked that the public keep Christmas Day celebrations as small as possible. He also requested that everyone involved in Christmas Day festivities be vaccinated.

Sturgeon presented the new advice, which is not a legal requirement, as she updated Holyrood parliament about the progress of the booster vaccine programme.

MSPs were informed by her: "We aren't banning or restricting house mix in law as we were before." We are aware of the detrimental impact this has on mental wellbeing and health.

"But, we are asking everyone – and we will issue strong direction to this effect- to reduce as much as possible the number outside of our own households with whom we interact right now."

Sturgeon stated that her government would amend regulations in order to make it a legal requirement for businesses to reduce the risk of transmission. This includes measures to avoid crowding bars and shops, better physical separation, and the return of protective screens.

She stated that Scotland faces a "likely tsunami of new infections" in the coming weeks and that further measures are needed to protect its health.

Sturgeon explained that the Omicron strain has a "very high attack rate".

On Tuesday afternoon, the UK Treasury promised additional funding to devolved countries to support the vaccination rollout and wider health response.

Sturgeon stated that her government had identified PS100m using its own resources to assist businesses affected by last week’s recommendation to postpone Christmas parties.

Sturgeon is expected to give a televised address Tuesday night. She previously rejected calls from Scotland’s largest teaching union, EIS, to immediately close schools, saying that her priority was to keep them safe.

Opposition parties have urged her to accelerate the booster rollout. Douglas Ross, leader of the Scottish Conservatives, has urged the Scottish government not to close mass vaccination centres.

Sturgeon replied that Scotland made the most progress in vaccinations than any other UK country and claimed that mass clinics were responsible for high levels of non-attendance.

Ross also challenged Sturgeon about the requirement of household contacts for a person who tests positive to Covid to self isolate for 10 days. This was regardless of age, vaccination status, or PCR test results.

Jackie Baillie from Scottish Labour, a spokesperson for the health, expressed concern about care packages being withheld due to absence of staff.

Public Health Scotland issued a strong warning last Thursday to people about Omicron infections linked to Christmas parties.

The evidence paper published by the Scottish government on Omicron was published Friday. It suggested that Omicron's doubling time was only two days and that it would quickly overtake Delta as the dominant strain in the country.

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