First minister says none of the nine people found to have been infected with new variant required hospital care
All nine cases of the Omicron variant in Scotland trace back to a “single private event” held on 20 November, Nicola Sturgeon has told the Holyrood parliament in her weekly Covid update.
The first minister told MSPs that all nine were tested on or around 23 November and that none had so far required hospital care, nor had they any recent travel history to the countries in southern Africa where the variant was originally detected.
Earlier on Tuesday, Scotland’s health minister, Humza Yousaf, confirmed three more cases of the Omicron variant had been identified, raising the total to five in Lanarkshire and four in Greater Glasgow and Clyde health boards, as questions continued to be raised about how the variant came to Scotland, with particular scrutiny around the climate summit held in Glasgow over the first fortnight in November and the Scotland v South Africa rugby match at Murrayfield on 13 November.
Sturgeon said health protection teams had established that all nine cases were linked to the private event on 20 November, adding that she “fully expected” more related cases to be identified in the coming days.
But she added: “There is so far nothing in the wider look-back exercise that Public Health Scotland has undertaken to suggest that community transmission of the new variant is either sustained or widespread.”
That look-back exercise has examined PCR test samples dating back to 1 November to identify any with the S gene dropout, which is indicative of though not conclusive evidence of the Omicron variant.
She also stressed that there remained no evidence that the cases were linked to the Cop26 climate conference in Glasgow.
Sturgeon also told MSPs that her government did not plan to introduce new restrictions at this stage, pointing out that “some protections that the UK government has announced in recent days in relation to England – for example a requirement to wear face coverings in some settings – are already in place, and in fact more extensive, here in Scotland”.