Omicron cases up 18 to 48 as Yousaf urges ‘safer’ Christmas plans

NHS Lothian recorded its first case of the new variant.

Laura Paterson
Sunday 05 December 2021 15:01
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon previously confirmed there were several sources of the new variant in Scotland (Dominic Lipinski/PA)
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon previously confirmed there were several sources of the new variant in Scotland (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

Omicron cases in Scotland have jumped by 18 in the past 24 hours, taking the total to 48.

And a case of the new variant was recorded in NHS Lothian for the first time.

Almost half of Scotland’s Omicron cases, 23, are in NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde which recorded 12 more cases in 24 hours.

NHS Lanarkshire recorded four new cases in the same period and has 13 overall.

The two areas were the source of the outbreak in Scotland which emerged on Monday and was initially confined to cases linked to a single private event on November 20.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon previously confirmed there were now several sources of the new variant in Scotland as it spread in the community, including a Steps concert at the Hydro in Glasgow on Monday November 22.

In the figures released on Sunday, a further case was confirmed in the Forth Valley health board area, taking the total to six.

Case numbers in NHS Highland and NHS Grampian remain at three and two respectively.

Ahead of the release of the figures, Health Secretary Humza Yousaf said people across Scotland should continue with their Christmas plans but “make them safer” amid concern about the new variant.

Health Secretary Humza Yousaf (Jane Barlow/PA)

He said he was not going to tell people not to invite their grandmother for Christmas dinner, but urged those meeting indoors to ask people to take lateral flow tests before arrival and ensure adequate ventilation.

Mr Yousaf told BBC Radio Scotland’s The Sunday Show: “You don’t have to cancel your (Christmas) plans but definitely make them safer. That’s what I’m going to do.

“Me and my constituency office are going to go to a restaurant for lunch but have all agreed that we will be doing lateral flow tests before then on the day.

“The same for Christmas dinner with my family. We’ll have my mother-in-law and some other relatives over and they’ll all be doing lateral flow devices.

“I’ll not be taking their Covid certification at the door but we’ll just be doing what we can to make our plans a bit safer.

“We’re asking people to exercise their judgment and make their Christmas plans as safe as they possibly can.”

I'm not going to say to people that you shouldn't invite their cousin, that you shouldn't invite their granny to Christmas dinner. What I'm saying is, take the precautions that we're asking you to

Health Secretary Humza Yousaf

Questioned if people should limit the numbers they invite at Christmas, he said they should take precautions but that he would not stipulate who people could have over for Christmas dinner.

“I’m not going to say to people that you shouldn’t invite their cousin, that you shouldn’t invite their granny to Christmas dinner,” he said.

“What I’m saying is, take the precautions that we’re asking you to.”

He added: “Adjust your plans to make them safer but I’m not going to sit here and tell you not to invite your granny to Christmas dinner.”

Scotland recorded one coronavirus-linked death and 2,067 new cases in the past 24 hours, according to the latest data released on Sunday afternoon.

The Scottish Government said Public Health Scotland was aware of an “ongoing processing issue with UK Government lab tests which may impact on cases and tests” in the daily figures and investigations were under way to resolve the problem.

The death toll under the daily measure, of people who first tested positive for the virus within the previous 28 days, was 9,649, but the Scottish Government said registry offices were generally closed at the weekend which could impact registrations.

The daily test positivity rate was 9.6%, up from 7.6% the previous day.

There were 586 people in hospital with recently confirmed Covid-19 as of Saturday night and, of these, 45 were in intensive care.

So far, 4,352,104 people had received their first dose of a Covid-19 vaccination, 3,958,162 had had a second, and 1,859,735 had been given a third dose or booster.

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