All nine of the Omicron Covid cases in Scotland have been linked to a private event held 10 days ago, Nicola Sturgeon has revealed.
The First Minister said the cases were identified following the gathering on November 20.
Three new cases of the variant were confirmed this morning, bringing the official total to nine in Scotland.
Across the UK, 14 have so far been identified.
‘We fully expect more Omicron cases’
Speaking in the Scottish Parliament during her weekly Covid-19 update, Ms Sturgeon said: “None of these individuals as far as we know has any recent travel history to or known links with others who have travelled to the countries in southern Africa where the variant was originally detected.
“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.”
Ms Sturgeon said the lack of overseas travel among the cases does suggest some community transmission, though she said this spread may still be “limited” because they are linked to a single event.
She added none of those who have the Omicron strain have been hospitalised with the disease.
Fears over Omicron variant spread
Stéphane Bancel said it would take months before companies such as his could manufacture jabs at scale to target specific variants.
Officials in the Netherlands say the highly mutated variant was present in the country earlier than first thought.
Scientists say two test samples taken between November 19 and 23 show it was present in the country before the variant was even reported by South Africa.
It raises fears the variant may have been circulating long before any countries started to take action to mitigate its spread.
Boris Johnson is due to hold a news conference at 4pm today to give an update on the UK-wide situation.