Sturgeon to update MSPs amid calls to change Covid-19 self-isolation period

The First Minister will address the Scottish Parliament virtually on Wednesday afternoon.

Mark Davey
Wednesday 05 January 2022 09:28
Nicola Sturgeon is due to give a coronavirus update on Wednesday (Andrew Milligan/PA)
Nicola Sturgeon is due to give a coronavirus update on Wednesday (Andrew Milligan/PA)

Nicola Sturgeon will update the Scottish Parliament on any possible change to the self-isolation period as opposition parties call for the 10-day rule to be adjusted.

The First Minister will address Parliament virtually on Wednesday at 2pm to give an update on the Covid-19 situation as the Omicron variant sweeps across the country.

Last week Ms Sturgeon said she hoped to give an update on any changes to the self-isolation period, which is currently 10 days.

Scottish Tory leader Douglas Ross has pressed the First Minister on the issue on four separate occasions in Parliament in recent weeks.

Scotland has the strictest self-isolation rules anywhere in the United Kingdom

Scottish Tory Leader Douglas Ross

He has called for the 10-day isolation period to be cut to seven days if someone has tested negative twice.

Mr Ross has also called for an end to household contacts having to isolate if they receive a negative PCR test.

Deputy First Minister John Swinney said on Tuesday the Government is still “actively considering” the move.

He added that the First Minister will provide “further details” on Wednesday on the changes – which have been made by Wales and Northern Ireland in the past week.

People who test positive for coronavirus in Wales can leave isolation after seven days if they return two negative lateral flow tests on days six and seven.

“Scotland has the strictest self-isolation rules anywhere in the United Kingdom,” Mr Ross said.

“We understand the need for caution, but Nicola Sturgeon’s dithering and delaying is continuing to have a major impact on frontline services and the wider economy, due to the sheer numbers having to isolate.

“She must finally confirm in her latest update that the period of isolation will be cut to seven days for those who have tested negative twice.”

Deputy First Minister said the Government is still ‘actively considering’ reducing the self-isolation period (Fraser Bremner/Daily Mail/PA)

Mr Ross’s comments were echoed by Scottish Labour deputy leader Jackie Baillie.

Ms Baillie, who is also the party’s health spokeswoman, said: “The SNP must use this update to confirm whether they will change self-isolation requirements in line with the latest evidence, to stop staff absences piling yet more pressure on businesses and services this winter.”

She pushed for an increase in testing capacity after Scots faced trouble booking PCR tests during the festive period.

Ms Baillie said: “Scotland’s testing system is showing signs of considerable strain, leaving people across the country facing impossible decisions.

“Before any new restrictions can be justified the Government must act to ensure our testing system is working properly and demonstrate the evidence that new rules would meet the unique challenges of Omicron.”

Speaking on BBC Radio Scotland’s Good Morning Scotland programme on Tuesday, Mr Swinney said: “Further details will be shared with Parliament in its virtual session on Wednesday.

“We are obviously looking at the clinical advice that is crucial in the handling of this because, as I’ve indicated before in these discussions, we do not in any way, shape or form serve anybody’s interest if we ignore the clinical dimension of this issue and the risk of transmissibility of allowing individuals to return to the workplace if they’re still carrying the virus.”

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