Clear evidence people are following new Covid rules – Swinney

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  • John Swinney
    Deputy First Minister of Scotland (born 1964)
  • Nicola Sturgeon
    Nicola Sturgeon
    5th First Minister of Scotland and Leader of the Scottish National Party
John Swinney spoke to the BBC’s Breakfast show (Jane Barlow/PA) (PA Archive)
John Swinney spoke to the BBC’s Breakfast show (Jane Barlow/PA) (PA Archive)

There is clear evidence people are changing their activity in response to the new coronavirus guidance, John Swinney has said.

The Deputy First Minister said the spread of the Omicron variant had been “really aggressive” and urged people to take lateral flow tests before attending any large events.

Nicola Sturgeon has asked people to limit socialising as much as possible around Christmas and work from home where they can.

New guidance for retail and hospitality has also come into force, requiring businesses to take “reasonable measures” to reduce the spread of coronavirus.

New rules are in place for retail and hospitality (Andrew Milligan/PA) (PA Archive)
New rules are in place for retail and hospitality (Andrew Milligan/PA) (PA Archive)

Appearing on BBC Breakfast on Sunday, Mr Swinney said: “I think it’s pretty clear that people in Scotland are changing their patterns of activity as a consequence of the seriousness of the threat that we face from Omicron.

“The regulations came into place on Friday morning and it’s very clear and noticeable that people are following many of these restrictions.”

Good progress was being made with the vaccine booster programme, he said.

Asked what it would take for more measures to be introduced, he said the Government was continuing to monitor the “really aggressive” spread of Omicron.

He said: “We will, of course, be updating parliament in the course of this week, on the further views that we have about any other measures that we need to take.”

The Deputy First Minister was also asked about large events such as Edinburgh’s Hogmanay celebrations.

The Scottish Government has asked people to limit socialising around Christmas (Ben Birchall/PA) (PA Wire)
The Scottish Government has asked people to limit socialising around Christmas (Ben Birchall/PA) (PA Wire)

Mr Swinney said the Government was not asking people to change their plans for Christmas Eve, Christmas Day or Boxing Day, but to “dial down” their interactions around these days.

He said: “Obviously there’s some larger events that take place, we’re saying to people before they go to them they should test themselves with lateral flow tests to make sure that they are negative.

“They should be vaccinated, they should get the booster jag.

“We’re saying to people in a whole variety of different ways to take steps to avoid being carriers of the virus.”

There have been nearly 6,000 new Covid cases (Andrew Milligan/PA) (PA Archive)
There have been nearly 6,000 new Covid cases (Andrew Milligan/PA) (PA Archive)

On Sunday, Scotland recorded one new coronavirus death and 5,924 new positive cases within the previous 24 hours.

Registry offices are generally closed at weekends, affecting the numbers of deaths recorded.

It brings the Covid-19 death toll in Scotland under the daily measure – of people who first tested positive for the virus within the previous 28 days – to 9,781.

The test positivity rate stood at 13.9% in Sunday’s figures, up from 12.2% on Saturday.

There were 504 people in hospital with recently confirmed Covid-19, of which 38 were in intensive care.

A total of 4,371,171 people have received their first dose of a coronavirus vaccine, while 3,991,879 have received their second dose and 2,501,033 have received a third dose or booster.

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