Sturgeon hopes for normal Christmas despite Omicron variant

·3-min read

Scotland’s First Minister said she “fervently hopes” the Omicron variant will not prevent people having a normal Christmas with family and is not asking people to change festive plans.

Questioned if people should put their plans on hold or develop contingencies, she said: “I’m not asking anybody today to put plans on hold”, but added people would factor contingencies into “all sorts of plans”.

Speaking at a Scottish Government briefing on the new coronavirus variant as six cases were confirmed north of the border, she said the Scottish Government will keep people updated on any changes to its advice as more is learned about Omicron.

She said: “I’m not asking you to change your plans. I know it’s three weeks to Christmas and none of us, including me, wanted to be in a position where I’m standing here again talking about a new variant that is posing risks.

“If any of our advice changes it’s important that we do that in a proper way and we communicate it in a proper way.

“Individuals, humans beings, will factor in contingencies into all sorts of plans they make and I’m sure there will be many who will be thinking about ‘if X happened what will I do?’, instead of what they were planning to do.

“I can’t make that decision for every individual across the country… What I am going to try to do is tell you as much as we know about what we’re learning about this variant and to tell you as, and when, and if – because it is an if just now – that changes any of the advice that we are giving so that the decisions people are making can be made in the most informed way possible. And I think that’s the only way really to proceed right now.

“Standing here right now I still hope, really fervently hope, to be having a normal Christmas with my family. Can I say that in a 100% sense? No, but that’s what I hope and I think that’s what we should be all be hopeful of as we learn more about this variant.”

She urged people to ensure compliance with protection measures in place, including wearing face coverings, washing hands and cleaning surfaces.

She also advised people to be mindful of distance between themselves and others when out and about, to ventilate rooms, test themselves regularly and get vaccinated.

Ms Sturgeon said: “Our assessment of the risk of this virus has perhaps receded in recent weeks, it is now time to step up on all of this and if we all do that we maximise our chances of limiting this while we learn more about it without the need for any further protections, so that is my message, plea, request, call it what you want, to everybody across the country.”

She added: “This is the moment again for collective national vigilance and compliance with these protections to try to keep all of us as safe as possible.”

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