When is Nicola Sturgeon speaking?
Nicola Sturgeon will give a statement virtually in parliament at around 2pm today to share the latest data available as Covid cases continue to soar, putting a heavy strain on the NHS.
Announcing the new proceedings, Holyrood’s Presiding Officer Alison Johnstone tweeted to say: “Parliament will sit at 2pm on Wednesday 5 January.
“The meeting – for an update and questions on Covid – will be entirely virtual.”
Here is everything you need to know about the update.
What are the latest case numbers of the Omicron variant?
Daily coronavirus cases in Scotland have reached a record new high at 20,217, the latest figures show.
The latest Glasgow figures, covering the week December 22-28, 2021, shows that there were 10,627 positive cases in the city.
In the seven days prior, there had been 6295 cases - meaning there was a 168 per cent rise in cases in a week.
The figures published by the Scottish Government on Monday show 65,860 new tests for Covid-19 reported results and 34.9 per cent were positive.
Monday’s figures include a note advising of delays in between tests being taken and results being reported, but saying Public Health Scotland is monitoring the situation.
There were 1,031 people in hospital on Sunday with recently confirmed Covid-19 and of these 38 were in intensive care.
A total of 4,383,212 people have received their first dose of a Covid-19 vaccination, 4,017,051 have received their second dose, and 2,992,583 have received a third dose or booster.
What is the First Minister expected to say?
Nicola Sturgeon will update MSP’s on the latest Covid-19 statistics and announce whether another record high has been recorded.
She will also discuss the progress of the vaccine programme, including the latest data on the booster jags across Scotland.
After her statement the First Minister will answer questions from opposition party leaders and backbenchers.
It is likely she will cover the increased pressure the NHS is under following the soaring cases figures, and give any available updates on the strength of the virus.
With schools returning from the Christmas break this week, the First Minister will most likely state the importance of ensuring they remain open by following the rules and continuing to limit social mixing wherever possible.
She may also discuss the isolation period rules in Scotland. Last week the government faced calls to reduce the isolation period from 10 to seven days, on the basis that the economy – primarily the hospitality and travel industries – could not cope with the number of staff absences.
On Tuesday ScotRail officially launched a new, reduced service, timetable after dealing with countless isolating staff which caused hundreds of cancellations and delays to its services.
It is also expected that she will say the Scottish Government is keeping the latest restrictions, brought in just after Christmas, under review.
An official update is expected later this month on whether the measures – including restrictions on indoor and outdoor events, and the re-implementation of table service in venues which serve alcohol – will be eased.
What time is the announcement?
The First Minister’s virtual statement in parliament will begin at around 2pm.
How can I watch?
The briefing will be available to watch live on Scottish Parliament TV.
A version of this article first appeared on our sister site, The Scotsman