New advice to reduce spread of virus in the run-up to Christmas.
From tomorrow (Saturday 11 December) all household contacts of any confirmed coronavirus (COVID 19) case must isolate for 10 days regardless of vaccination status - even if they initially get a negative PCR test.
People are also being urged to defer work Christmas parties to slow the spread of the virus.
The new isolation requirement and advice have been introduced following a rapid rise in case numbers and on the back of a Scottish Government evidence paper outlining the increased transmissibility of the Omicron variant.
The evidence paper:
- Estimates that Omicron cases will double every two to three days and are likely to account for more than half the cases within Scotland by next week.
- Highlights that a rapid rise in Omicron infections could put significant additional pressure on hospitals and other health and care services, close to the point in the winter when they are already likely to be at peak pressure
- States the number of cases could potentially cause great disruption to other services and businesses as more people are forced to self-isolate
As well as following all public health measures – getting vaccinated, wearing face coverings, regular hand washing and isolating when required to – the Scottish Government strongly advises lateral flow testing in advance of meeting up with others.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said:
“As the evidence paper makes clear, we are facing a renewed and very severe challenge in the shape of the Omicron variant.
“The much greater and faster transmissibility of this new variant means we may be facing a potential tsunami of infections.
“We must do all we can to break transmission chains, which is why we are acting now by changing isolation requirements and giving advice on work Christmas parties.
“I know that more restrictions could cause significant health, social and economic harms, especially after almost two years of this pandemic. But abiding by the new measures gives us the best chance of minimising further restrictions.”
The evidence paper has been published on the Scottish Government website.