Nicola Sturgeon has proposed tighter travel restrictions after six cases of the Covid-19 Omicron variant were identified in Scotland.
Scotland’s First Minister spoke at a briefing on the variant after the Scottish Government announced four cases are in Lanarkshire and two in the Greater Glasgow and Clyde area.
She said some of the cases identified have no travel history, which suggests there is a degree of community transmission, but there is currently no suggestion this is either sustained or widespread.
All close contacts of suspected Omicron cases will be advised to self-isolate for 10 days, regardless of their vaccination status.
Ms Sturgeon and her Welsh counterpart, Mark Drakeford, have jointly written to the Prime Minister proposing stricter travel restrictions to help combat the spread of the new variant.
They propose arrivals to the UK have to self-isolate for eight days, with tests on day two and day eight.
Currently, passengers arriving in the UK from 4am on Tuesday will be required to take a PCR test by the end of their second day from entry and isolate until they receive a negative test.
Ten southern African nations have been added to the red travel list, with the World Health Organisation describing the global risk posed by the variant as “very high”.
The First Minister also said she and Mr Drakeford had asked Boris Johnson to hold an urgent Cobra meeting with representatives from the four UK nations and to guarantee the Treasury will fully fund any business support required.
The letter states: “The emergence of Omicron poses a potential threat to the UK.
“It is clear that the strain is already here and that it appears highly transmissible.
“We need to work collectively – and effectively – as four nations to take all reasonable steps to control the ingress of the virus to the country and then to limit its spread.
“We are clear that a four nations approach to issues such as border restrictions is the most effective approach. This requires that a meeting of the Cobra committee be held as soon as possible.”
Nicola Sturgeon also stated during the update that Scotland’s Christmas plans should not be cancelled in light of the new variant.
The First Minister asked for “collective national vigilance” against the spread of the Omicron variant which has been detected in six Scottish cases so far
Asked if travel plans for the festive season should be, the SNP leader said: “I’m not asking people to put plans on hold.”
“I will during this next phase of the pandemic if this proves necessary, I’ll do what I’ve done in that previous stages – I’ll stand here and try to share with you in a real time basis what we’re asking people to do and why.”
“Right now what I’m asking people to do is really up the level of compliance with all of the protections that are still in place. I think it’s really important that we see these for what they are – protections, not restrictions.”
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