It was announced this morning that six cases have been identified in Scotland - two in Greater Glasgow and Clyde and four in the Lanarkshire area.
What happens now?
Public Health Scotland and local health protection teams are supporting and contact tracing is being undertaken to establish the origin of the virus and any individuals they have come into contact with in recent weeks.
What is the Scottish Government saying?
Health Secretary Humza Yousaf said: “This will be a worrying time for the six people now identified as having the new variant. All will receive expert help and support and Public Health Scotland will undertake enhanced contact tracing in all cases. This will help establish the origin of the virus and any further individuals they have come into contact with in recent weeks.
“There is still much to learn about the Omicron variant. Questions remain about its severity, transmissibility and response to treatments or vaccines and scientists are working at pace to provide additional information. Until more is known we must be cautious and do everything we can to minimise the risk of spreading infection.
“We have already taken steps and are aligning with the new border restrictions being introduced by the UK Government which will require fully vaccinated arrivals to take a PCR test within two days of arrival and to self-isolate until a negative result is received. These measures will be introduced as soon as possible and kept under constant review. However, we reserve the right to go further if necessary. We are also adopting the expanded red list of countries identified by the UK Government. This will also be kept under review.
“We must now redouble our efforts to follow the basic rules that have served us well throughout the pandemic – wear a face covering on public transport and in all indoor settings for food and retail; open windows especially if you have people visiting at home; keep washing your hands regularly and thoroughly. Work from home where possible, take regular lateral flow tests – especially before mixing with others outside your household.
“If you have symptoms, self-isolate and take a test and if contacted by Test and Protect or public health teams please co-operate and follow their advice. All close contacts of suspected Omicron cases will be advised to self-isolate for 10 days, regardless of their vaccination status.
“And of course, if you are eligible for your booster, or are still to have any dose of the Covid-19 vaccine, please get vaccinated now.”
What has happened to travel restrictions?
Angola, Malawi, Mozambique and Zambia have been added to the travel red list, meaning all travellers returning to Scotland from these countries will be required to quarantine on arrival at a hotel for 10 days. Managed quarantine accommodation will been stood up for any arrivals from these countries.
Managed quarantine is already in place for arrivals from six other countries - South Africa, Namibia, Lesotho, Eswatini, Zimbabwe and Botswana - which had been added to the travel red list.