Three more Omicron cases identified in Scotland – taking UK total to 14

UK

Three more cases of the Omicron COVID-19 variant have been identified in Scotland, taking the UK’s total to 14.

Scotland’s health secretary Humza Yousaf said there are now five cases in the Lanarkshire area and four in NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde.

Scotland hosted South Africa in a rugby international at Edinburgh’s Murrayfield stadium on 13 November, but Mr Yousaf said there is no evidence of a link to the Omicron cases.

The variant was first detected in South Africa
Image:
The variant was first detected in South Africa

“There’s nothing that indicates these cases or this new variant has come via the rugby or COP26 but that work of course is still ongoing,” he told BBC Good Morning Scotland.

First identified by researchers in southern Africa, there is growing international concern about the new Omicron COVID-19 variant.

The UK called an “urgent” meeting of G7 health ministers on Monday, and a number of countries have reimposed travel restrictions.

As part of a package of measures to slow the spread of the variant, all adults will now be offered a coronavirus booster vaccine, children over 12 will be given a second dose and the severely immunosuppressed will be given a fourth jab – while the gap between the second jab and booster has been shortened.

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Not much is yet known about B.1.1.529, including whether or not it is more contagious, or resistant to vaccines.

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However, additional steps – including the reintroduction of mask-wearing in some settings from today – are hoped to buy more time for scientists to gain a greater understanding of the strain.

And from 4am on Tuesday, all arrivals to the UK will have to take a costly PCR test on day two and self-isolate until they receive a negative result.

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