The First Minister made a statement on the impact of the Omicron variant today. Key points were:
- Omicron is significantly more transmissible than other variants of Covid-19.
- We still do not yet know for certain whether it is any milder than other variants.
- We are now in a race between the virus and the vaccine – additional resources will be put into vaccine and booster roll-out in the coming weeks.
- Those between 18-29yrs will be able to book their booster from tomorrow. Those above that age should either have already their booster or already be able to book.
- Further protective measures to slow the spread of the virus will be brought in incl extending the workplace testing scheme, measures to avoid crowding, emphasis on social distancing, collection of data by businesses for the purpose of tract and trace, ensuring all who can work from home do so, reinforcing the rules around the use of face coverings and additional guidance on minimising contact with others.
- There is an additional £100 million to ensure the Self Isolation Support Grant is available for those who need it, given the expected increase in the number of eligible people who will be asked to isolate.
- New guidance for Schools for the return after the Christmas break is being looked at now and they expect to be able to issue by the end of this week.
- They will limit the number of people who can visit those in care homes and advise the use of testing prior to visits being undertaken.
For full details of the First Minister’s announcement see here:
Omicron Evidence Paper
For more information on the rise and implications of the Omicron variant please see the Scottish Government Evidence Paper.
New Guidance on Isolation for those working in Social Care
The Scottish Government has updated the above guidance, through correspondence sent to Health Boards, HSCPs and Councils.
We have attached the relevant letter sent by Donna Bell. The change relates to the Covid booster status of workers that would allow them to be exempted from self-isolation requirements.
We also attach a similar letter that has been issued today to local authorities re school staff.