Pressure on Sturgeon to ease self-isolation rules amid record number of Covid cases
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon will update MSPs later on the latest Covid situation after case numbers hit a record high earlier this week.
In a special virtual sitting of the Scottish Parliament, Sturgeon is expected to address the issue of self-isolation amid pressure to cut the current 10-day period due to staff shortages.
Scotland recorded more than 17,000 cases of Covid on Tuesday, following a record 20,217 positive tests on Monday - the highest figure recorded in Scotland since the pandemic began.
Addressing parliament last week, Sturgeon said a decision on easing self-isolation rules would be made in the coming days.
Those recording a positive test must isolate for 10 days in Scotland. In England, the self-isolation period was cut from 10 to 7 days before Christmas.
Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross said: “Scotland has the strictest self-isolation rules anywhere in the United Kingdom. We understand the need for caution, but Nicola Sturgeon’s dithering and delaying is continuing to have a major impact on frontline services and the wider economy, due to the sheer numbers having to isolate.
“She must finally confirm in her latest update that the period of isolation will be cut to seven days, for those who have tested negative twice.
“Her indecision, coupled with new restrictions, has harmed many businesses at what should have been their busiest time of the year.”
Despite a surge in Omicron cases, the number of people in hospital is lower than earlier in the pandemic. There are currently 1,147 in hospital with Covid in Scotland, and 42 in intensive care.
Scottish Labour’s Health and Covid Recovery spokesperson Jackie Baillie said: “Cases have risen dramatically in the last week, but thankfully so far the rate of new hospitalisations and people with Omicron in ICU remains low.
“But despite this positive news, the picture for our public services and businesses remains bleak. The number of staff absences from the NHS and social care is very high and this is having more of an impact on services.
“The SNP must use this update to confirm whether they will change self-isolation requirements in line with the latest evidence, to stop staff absences piling yet more pressure on businesses and services this winter.
“Scotland’s testing system is showing signs of considerable strain, leaving people across the country facing impossible decisions.
“Before any new restrictions can be justified the government must act to ensure our testing system is working properly and demonstrate the evidence that new rules would meet the unique challenges of Omicron.”
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