Covid Scotland: Changes to isolation rules will be announced next week as Nicola Sturgeon is accused of ‘determination’

Sturgeon warned that the coming period “will not be easy” as she revealed a jump in the number of positive cases to 15,849 yesterday.

Speaking at a virtual session of the Scottish Parliament, Mrs Sturgeon suggested that changes could be made to the rule requiring household members of all with a positive Covid case to isolate themselves, and said ministers would also consider to shorten the isolation period for persons with a positive test. Any changes will take effect on January 6th.

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But opposition leaders said the Scottish Government needed to immediately report any changes to the rules, pointing to major staffing problems in the hospitality sector as well as the NHS.

Reece Maclean gets vaccinated at a COVID-19 booster vaccination center at Hampden Park Vaccination Center in Glasgow.

Priority for Covid testing, meanwhile, is to be given to key workers and vulnerable people amid reports that test centers and online orders for PCR and lateral flow tests have been overwhelmed by demand. Sturgeon said test capacity in Scotland had reached 85 per cent yesterday, which would put pressure on treatment times. Some people have reported waiting four days for a test result.

The number of new cases of 15,849 is a marked increase over previous days, while the test positivity was 28.9 percent, which the Prime Minister said could be due to the fact that “people are more selective about when to go to the test over Christmas period”. The last highest number of cases was the second day of Christmas, when 11,030 people tested positive.

But Ms Sturgeon said there was “optimism” over a lower number of hospitalizations associated with the new omicron variant. The Scottish Government is to conduct research into detailed breakdowns of how many people are currently in Scotland with the virus – but are being treated for other reasons and those who are in hospital because of Covid. She said 679 people were in the hospital with Covid – an increase of 80 – and 36 people are in intensive care.

Sturgeon told MSPs that there would be no change in restrictions on hospitality businesses, such as closing nightclubs, reintroducing social distancing in restaurants and bars and tightening number of restrictions on events – which will remain in place until January 17.

Prime Minister Nicola Sturgeon spoke to Holyrood today.

She said: “There is no doubt that the data we are looking at right now is the conversion of positive tests into hospital admissions. And here there is reason for optimism. In the past week, published studies have suggested that the risk for hospitalization for omicron is lower, possibly significantly lower than for other virus strains. What is not yet understood is why this may be the case. “

She added: “This situation we are facing now is not what any of us want. And the period immediately ahead will not be easy. Having said that, I hope the clearer picture we want in the next few weeks, too, will prove to be a much more positive picture. “

Sturgeon said any changes to the isolation rules would be considered over the next week and implemented from January 6th.

Scottish Conservatives leader Douglas Ross pointed to a recent study by Omicron, which he said shows “how it is more transferable but less serious”.

She said: “I indicated last week that we weighed risks and benefits by shortening the isolation period for index cases and also potentially easing the requirement that all household contacts be insulated after a positive event. These are finely balanced assessments and we are considering current trends. “I can confirm, however, that we hope to reach resolutions next week with any amendments with effect from the sixth of January, and we will keep Parliament updated.”

Sir. Ross said: “Last week, I asked the Prime Minister to change the rules of self-isolation to allow household contacts to end self-isolation if they have a negative PCR test, and to reduce isolation from ten to seven days if they test negative twice. But her message to people is once again to tune in again next week on these significant changes. “

He added: “Businesses across Scotland are struggling – at what should be their busiest time of year – with both the impact of restrictions and the Prime Minister’s indecision on self – insulation rules.

“Absence and lack of staff coverage means that many have to close early or can not open at all, despite the fact that staff have been tested negative for Covid. On top of that, many companies are in serious trouble and need financial support. support now, still not receiving financial support from the Scottish Government. “

Scottish Labor leader Anas Sarwar said after the update: “After so many of us have spent the last few days enjoying Christmas with our friends and families, our frontline staff have worked tirelessly to keep us all safe and secure – but staff absenteeism is rising and the disruption of vital public services is increasing.

“The Prime Minister must explain what scientific evidence she trusts to justify postponing changes to the self-isolation rules. Any restriction has a contagious effect on workers and businesses, especially in the field of hospitality and retail. “

He added: “We know that testing is the key to breaking the transmission. From lateral flow tests before visits by friends and family, to the PCR tests that determine the spread and rate of this virus – that’s the core of a successful response. But in throughout Scotland this system shows signs of strain.

“Too many people trying to get tested are facing shortages, long journeys and long waits for their results. At some point during this break, people have reported that they can not book tests for delivery online. This is gathering more disruption. “on companies and public services and distracts frontline workers from their responsibilities – and jeopardizes their livelihoods. As Hogmanay approaches, the Prime Minister must take steps to increase test capacity, availability and speed of results.”

The Prime Minister told Holyrood that 75 per cent of those eligible for a booster vaccination in Scotland have now received one – and said there was capacity available in the system for anyone who could get a third vaccination to get one before the end of this week.

However, she said that although the number of cancellations and non-participation had increased in the past week, she believed that it was mainly due to a higher number of people being infected with the virus, making them unable to be vaccinated for 12 weeks .

She said in previous waves of Covid-19, about 70 percent of the people in the hospital who had tested positive for Covid were due to the virus. The government is to publish a full list of Omicron cases at the hospital over the next few weeks – including whether hospital stays are generally shorter with Omicron, as has been suggested in other countries.

She said: “We want to understand the crash with Omicron and we will look into publishing these figures.”

During the update, the Prime Minister described the allocation of the first £ 100 million in aid to companies affected by the recent restrictions.

A total of £ 16m will be made available to support public transport providers through existing Covid support schemes, £ 27m will go to the cultural sector and a further £ 17m will be given to the events sector. In the meantime, £ 32m will be allocated to hospitality and leisure businesses, with a further £ 10m to the parts of the hospitality industry hardest hit by the table service requirement. Nightclubs that have been forced to close will be given up to £ 5m.

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Alex Cole-Hamilton said: “I met with the hospitality sector last week and they told me that the money offered currently represents only 1/8 of their payroll in January. That keeps them barely three days. 16,000 cases will leave them in serious doubt that they will be allowed to reopen on January 17. Many companies are on the verge of making irreversible decisions and people are losing their jobs.

“It is clear that the Prime Minister, if her government chooses to extend the restrictions beyond the 17th, has to offer assurance that further support will be made available to a hospitality sector that is already on its knees.”

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