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Nicola Sturgeon to hold unscheduled Covid briefing as Omicron cases rise

Nicola Sturgeon is expected to give a Covid update today.

Nicola Sturgeon is to hold an unscheduled Covid briefing on Friday amid growing concerns over rising cases of the Omicron variant.

The first minister will give Scots an update on the latest coronavirus situation.

There are suggestions that she is considering the introduction of some restrictions, though no plans have yet been confirmed.

It comes after Public Health Scotland issued new guidance on Thursday, urging Scots to postpone their Christmas parties.

Christmas parties should be postponed, Public Health Scotland has said.

Since the end of November, 109 cases of the variant have been confirmed in Scotland, including one each in Tayside and Fife.

Earlier this week, Ms Sturgeon advised people to work from home if they can until the middle of January to prevent the spread of the virus throughout the winter months.

She also called on people to get the Covid vaccine, branding those who are not jabbed “selfish”.

What is Nicola Sturgeon expected to say?

The first minister is expected to brief the nation on the latest coronavirus figures after she advised that the newly identified variant had increased tenfold earlier this week.

She is also expected to give an update on whether new Covid restrictions will be implemented to contain Omicron and halt its transmission among communities.

But that is not likely to include an early closure of schools ahead of the Christmas break, after ministers said earlier this week this was not actively being considered.

Jason Leitch
Professor Jason Leitch.

On Wednesday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson tightened coronavirus rules in England, bringing them more in line with those in Scotland.

He said that work from home guidance would return, Covid health certificates would be required for large venues, and mandatory mask rules would be reintroduced.

When will the briefing take place?

The Scottish Government has confirmed that the first minister will take the stand at St Andrew’s House in Edinburgh at 12.15pm.

She will be joined by Professor Gregor Smith, the chief medical officer, and Professor Jason Leitch, the national clinical director.

The update will be streamed live on the Scottish Government’s Twitter page and BBC Scotland.

Covid: Scotland preparing for ‘potential tsunami’ of Omicron variant infections says Nicola Sturgeon

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