You’ll need to get your home desk nice and tidy once more, as new coronavirus guidance has arrived from the Scottish government asking us to return to our home offices. As the world grapples with the emergence of the new Omicron variant of coronavirus, which is concerning scientific minds due to a seemingly higher transmissibility and resistance to vaccines, the First Minister held a press conference this morning to outline the new guidance. Speaking in the past hour, Sturgeon said that “we are asking everybody across the country to significantly step up and increase compliance with all existing precautions” including wearing face coverings, taking regular Covid tests, and getting vaccines.
The six identified Omicron cases centred on Lanarkshire and the Greater Glasgow and Clyde area, meaning that Glaswegians will need to step up quickly. Sturgeon revealed that Omicron’s emergence will be a “fast-moving scenario”, and stressed that the government and health authorities will keep a close eye on the situation. For the time being, she asked employers to maximise the potential for home working, and asked workers across Scotland to work from home wherever possible.
Additionally, travel restrictions have been tightened, with ten countries from southern Africa added to Scotland’s red list. Meanwhile, Sturgeon and the First Minister of Wales, Mark Drakeford, have written a joint letter to UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, urging for a “four nations” approach to travel restrictions.
For those worrying about the potential impact on Christmas, Sturgeon addressed the issue in a question from the media. She stated that there is no current need to put Christmas plans on hold, and that for the moment, government advice will focus on protection, rather than restrictions. As such, an increased focus on face masks, hand washing, social distancing, and regular Covid testing will be the focus in the coming weeks, to prevent a resurgence in cases before Christmas. Glasgow, you know what to do.