First Minister Nicola Sturgeon is urging people to “test much more” after six cases of the new Omicron variant of Covid were identified in Scotland. Some of those affected have no travel history and are thought to have caught the virus in the community.
Speaking of the fact that the variant has arrived, Spirited1 said on Twitter: “Some of those affected have no travel history and are thought to have caught the virus in the community.”
Replying to the Tweet, KH said: “Don’t we need to think about closing border between England and Scotland and stop Scottish people travelling south.? Oh sorry no that’s the sort of idea the SNP come up with when the issue was round the other way,” in a direct attack on the SNP.
Ms Sturgeon asked people to “test before you go” with LFDs before mixing with other households, and for home working to be maximised by employers.
She called for increased compliance with steps to stop the virus’ spread.
Ms Sturgeon and Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford also want to see tougher travel restrictions for people arriving in the UK – although that has been ruled out by Downing Street.
Stricter border controls and travel restrictions are being introduced across the globe in response to the latest variant of concern.
Nicola Sturgeon has warned that closing the border with England would be a “last resort”.
Speaking to the BBC’s Andrew Marr show, the First Minister said: “That is a question I have been asked repeatedly including possibly by you over the past two years. It’s very difficult you know as well as I do the nature of the Border between Scotland and England.”
Ms Sturgeon added: “There are the flows across the Border. We will do everything we can. We have at times in the pandemic previously advised against travel across the England-Scotland Border, that is always a last resort.”
Cross Border travel between Scotland and England was banned earlier in the pandemic with people only allowed to make journeys for essential reasons such as health care, work or caring duties.
The UK has called an “urgent” meeting of G7 health ministers on Monday to discuss the Omicron COVID variant – after a third infected person was found in Britain.
In addition to the six southern African countries unexpectedly added to the UK’s red list last week – South Africa, Botswana, Lesotho, Eswatini, Zimbabwe and Namibia – a further four nations have been given red status.
South Africa’s president has condemned travel bans enacted against his country and its neighbours over the new coronavirus variant Omicron.
Cyril Ramaphosa said he was “deeply disappointed” by the action, which he described as unjustified, and called for the bans to be urgently lifted.
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UKHSA chief executive Dr Jenny Harries said: “It is very likely that we will find more cases over the coming days as we are seeing in other countries globally and as we increase case detection through focused contact tracing. That’s why it’s critical that anyone with Covid-19 symptoms isolates and gets a PCR test immediately.”
Scientists around the world are scrambling to find out whether the new variant, first identified by scientists in South Africa, is more deadly or if it evades vaccines.
Over the weekend Omicron cases were also confirmed in Germany, the Netherlands, Italy and Australia.
Health Secretary Sajid Javid confirmed the rule changes on Sunday morning when he announced mandatory mask-wearing will return to shops and public transport on Tuesday.
But, despite fears over another lockdown, Mr Javid told families to plan for Christmas “as normal”.
Globally, Covid-19 has infected 262 million people, claiming the lives of over 5.2 million.
The UK has so far reported over 145,000 fatalities from the virus.