Nicola Sturgeon re-appeals for Stirling residents to limit contact in last weekend before Christmas

Nicola Sturgeon has issues another plea with Scots to limit their contact with other households in the final weekend before Christmas in a desperate bid to limit the spread of Omicron.

It comes as the Omicron variant of coronavirus has officially become the dominant strain in Scotland.

The First Minister provided an update on the current state of Covid in the country today (Friday).

She said: “In relation to the Omicron variant specifically, as of 5pm yesterday, there were 696 confirmed cases in Scotland. However, these are cases confirmed through genome sequencing. This measure very significantly underestimates the true volume of Omicron cases.

“As I have set out before, an earlier indicator of whether or not a case is Omicron – and a better measure of the overall volume of cases – is the absence in PCR tests of a specific genetic characteristic known as the S gene.

“Around 95-per cent of all tests in Scotland are analysed in a way that allows us to see if the S Gene is present or not. And this has revealed that Omicron cases have been rising exponentially – indeed, faster than anything experienced previously in the pandemic.”

Nicola Sturgeon announced the latest measures at a briefing on Monday

She went on to say that last week, around 15.5-per cent of all cases were likely to be the Omicron variant. That has now risen to 51.4-per cent – making it the dominant strain of the virus, overtaking the Delta variant.

She added: “That presents a challenge, because we know Omicron is significantly more transmissible than Delta. It has an R number that is possibly above four, and therefore the more cases that are Omicron, the more it risks driving a much steeper increase in cases overall.”

She continued: “If we don’t act now, what we have feared all along but so far avoided – the overwhelming of the NHS – could happen.

“But it is important to understand that this isn’t simply an issue for the health service. The numbers of people becoming infected even mildly – and having to isolate – is already putting a significant strain on the economy and critical services.

“As people become infected, we lose drivers for trains, teachers for classrooms, nurses for hospital wards, and workers for businesses across the country. So there really isn’t a choice to be made between slowing the spread of Omicron and protecting the economy.”

Click here for more news and sport from the Stirling area.

It’s understood that the total number of Omicron cases is doubling in Scotland every two to three days. The First Minister reiterated previous calls to curtail contact with other households to halt the spread. She said: “If we do meet up with people, we should make sure that there are no more than three households in the group.

“And we should absolutely make sure we’re taking lateral flow tests before we go. But that’s a safety net. My fundamental ask of everyone just now is this – in the run up to Christmas, stay at home much more than you normally would, and as much as you can.”

There were 4,336 positive Covid cases in the previous 24 hours.

As of 5pm on Thursday, there were 696 confirmed Omicron cases in Scotland.

There were a further seven Covid deaths in the previous 24-hour period, taking Scotland’s death toll to 9,771.

Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *