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Scots urged to postpone Christmas parties amid Omicron fears

Many Christmas parties have already been held.
Many Christmas parties have already been held.

Scots are being urged to defer Christmas parties after festive events were linked to various outbreaks of the Omicron variant.

Public Health Scotland has warned the new strain of Covid-19 appears to be “much more transmissible” and some health boards have been dealing with large outbreaks in recent weeks.

More transmissible variant

As of today, 109 cases of Omicron have so far been detected in Scotland including one in Tayside and one in Fife.

Dr Nick Phin, director of Public Health Science and medical director at Public Health Scotland said the situation is serious.

Pubs and restaurants have already taken many bookings for Christmas parties.

He said: “There is much that we still need to learn about Omicron, but early evidence suggests that this new Covid variant is much more transmissible.

“The impact of this transmissibility has been seen in recent weeks, with a number of Omicron outbreaks linked to parties.

“We still need to learn more about the severity of disease caused by Omicron and the effectiveness of vaccines, but there are important things that we can do to help protect ourselves and our families now.”

Postpone parties

Dr Phin said he is “strongly urging” people to defer parties to another time, however, there is no legal obligation for anyone to do so.

He said: “I appreciate that everyone is keen to celebrate this festive season, particularly after the pressures of the last twenty months, but by postponing some plans we can all do our bit to protect ourselves and our loved ones.”

Scots have been urged to defer parties until after Christmas.

It comes shortly after Nicola Sturgeon announced Scotland will now review Covid-19 restrictions on a daily basis as Omicron begins to spread.

She also urged anyone working from home at the start of the pandemic in March last year to do so again.

Boris Johnson meanwhile announced a ‘plan B’ for England, meaning compulsory face coverings and advice for anyone who can work from home to do so.

Boris Johnson has tightened measures again in England.

Both measures have already been in place in Scotland since last year.

The UK Prime Minister said he hopes the plan will slow the spread of the variant and reduce the chances of the NHS coming under unsustainable pressure, while buying time to deliver more boosters.

Officials believe there is still some level of vaccine effectiveness against Omicron but stress it is still too early to determine the extent.

Coronavirus in Scotland – track the spread with these charts

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