Nine Omicron cases linked to same event
All nine cases of the new Omicron Covid variant in Scotland are linked to one event in November, the First Minister has confirmed.
As of Monday evening, there had been five confirmed cases in Lanarkshire and four in Greater Glasgow and Clyde.
All of them have attended a private event on 20 November and had tested positive for Covid-19 on or around 23 November.
However, none of the people involved have any known travel or overseas connection which suggests some community transmission of the new variant is already happening in Scotland.
Nicola Sturgeon said it was “highly likely” that more cases will therefore emerge in the coming days, though added there was no evidence yet to suggested it is “sustained or widespread”.
Urging people to adhere to existing protections in place, she said: “If we treat the news of the new variant as an opportunity to raise our guard again, I hope that we will protect the progress that we have made in recent weeks, and we will give ourselves the best possible chance of enjoying not just a more normal Christmas, which we all want, but a safer Christmas too, and of avoiding any tighter restrictions in the weeks ahead.”
Despite news of the new variant, overall Covid case numbers in Scotland have been dropping.
The average number of cases is now around 2,500 per day – down from 3,000 a week ago – while the number of people in hospital has also fallen.
None of the people with the Omicron variant have been hospitalised.
The First Minister also reiterated the Scottish Government’s acceptance of the recent JCVI advice to provide booster jabs to all over 18s.
She said that would be acted upon “as soon as possible”.