politics

Nine Covid Omicron cases all linked to single super-spreader private event


The First Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon said contact tracing work had been carried out and more cases were expected to emerge in the coming days and weeks

All nine cases of the Omicron variant of coronavirus in Scotland can be traced back to a single event, it has been confirmed
All nine cases of the Omicron variant of coronavirus in Scotland can be traced back to a single event, it has been confirmed

All nine cases of the Omicron variant of coronavirus in Scotland can be traced back to a single private event, the country’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said.

The Leader of the Scottish National Party said contact tracing work had been carried out and more cases were expected to emerge in coming days.

This comes as another eight Omicron Covid cases were found in England – bringing the total to 13.

She told the Scottish Parliament this suggested there was community transmission of Omicron in Scotland, though it may still be “limited”.

Ms Sturgeon said: “None of these individuals – as far as we know – has recent travel history to or known links with others who have travelled to the countries in southern Africa where the variant was originally detected.







Members of the public queue outside Lush in Glasgow, Scotland
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“However, while the contact tracing exercise is still ongoing, health protection teams have established that all nine cases are linked.

“They all trace back to a single private event on November 20.

“Indeed, we fully expect that there will be more cases identified over the coming days that are also linked to this event.”

Five of the cases are in the NHS Lanarkshire area and four in NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde.

Earlier in the day Ms Sturgeon told MSPs: “We have preliminary information on all nine cases – which is the basis of the information I am about to share with Parliament – however, health protection teams are continuing their investigations.

“Let me say, firstly, that none of the people who have tested positive have so far required hospital care.







Nicola Sturgeon speaks to the media during the Cop26 climate summit in Glasgow
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“All nine were tested on and around 23 November and because they had tested positive they have all been self-isolating.

“A surveillance look back exercise had identified that the PCR test results in these cases showed what is called the S gene dropout – this is not conclusive evidence of the Omicron variant, but indicative of it.

“However, whole genome sequencing of these positive samples has now identified that they are indeed the Omicron variant.”

She also said that it is being investigated whether there is a link to COP26, which was held in Glasgow between October 31 – November 13, with representatives from all over the world attending.







Nicola Sturgeon told the Scottish Parliament this suggested there was ongoing community transmission of Omicron in Scotland
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The First Minister said: “Given the nature and scale of COP26, the surveillance work that Public Health Scotland is doing is also looking at any potential links to it.

“At this stage, however, there is no evidence whatsoever of any such link – and, while it is not impossible that one will emerge, I think the timelines involved make it improbable.”

It is feared that the new variant may be more resistant to vaccines.

Scotland’s health secretary Humza Yousaf this morning announced that the number of cases in the country had risen to nine, while there have been five confirmed cases in England.

Today the head of the UK Health Security Agency, Dr Jenny Harries, said that there were a further 10 “highly likely” cases.

Scientists around the world are scrambling to find out if the variant, classified as “of concern” by the World Health Organisation (WHO), is more deadly.

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