New Covid rules Scotland: self isolation restrictions explained - and when is Nicola Sturgeon’s next update?

It comes as the first UK death from the Omicron Covid variant has been reported, hours after the Prime Minister Boris Johnson delivered his booster vaccine plea

Alarm bells have been sounded over the weekend due to the spread of the Omicron Covid variant.

On Sunday evening, the Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced the booster vaccine programme would be scaled up in a bid to protect the public from the new strain.

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His announcement came after the chief medical officers for all four UK nations recommended the UK Covid alert level be raised from Level 3 to Level 4.

It also followed advice from Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon for Scots to cancel their Christmas parties and new rules regarding self-isolation.

With Omicron cases continuing to rise and the announcement of the first UK death from the new variant, the FM is now expected to unveil more restrictions this week.

So when is Nicola Sturgeon next due to update Scotland on Covid, what could she announce - and what are the rules she brought in last week?

Here’s what you need to know.

Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon is set to update MSPs and the public on Covid this week (image: Getty Images)

What did Nicola Sturgeon announce last week?

In her previous update on Friday (10 December), Nicola Sturgeon warned of a “tsunami of infections” from the new Omicron variant.

Describing a rise in cases as “virtually certain”, Ms Sturgeon revealed modelling in a Scottish Government evidence paper which showed infections could surge to as many as 25,000 a day by Monday 20 December in the worst case scenario.

The most-likely range of the worst-case scenario would see cases rise to more than 15,000, while the best-case scenario has cases peaking at just over 1,250.

The First Minister introduced a new rule, which came into force on Saturday (11 December), which requires household contacts of positive Covd cases to self-isolate for 10 days, regardless of their vaccination status or a negative PCR test.

Non-household contacts don’t have to isolate for the full 10 days if they receive a negative PCR test result and are double vaccinated.

Ms Sturgeon also advised people to postpone their Christmas parties until a later date.

Scotland’s Covid vaccine booster programme is set to be ramped up ahead of Christmas (image: Getty Images)

It came as ScotRail services in the central belt were hit by cancellations due to Covid infections or contacts.

50 services had to be cancelled last week.

Meanwhile, a ward at Raigmore Hospital, Inverness was forced to close to new admissions over the weekend due to a Covid-19 outbreak.

It is not yet known whether these infections were due to the Omicron variant.

As of Sunday (12 December), 38 more Omicron cases had been confirmed in Scotland, taking the total to 159.

There were 4,002 coronavirus cases in total reported in the 24 hours to Sunday, with no new deaths.

Scotland’s Health Secretary Humza Yousaf has warned some operations could be postponed to ensure the vaccine rollout is as fast as possible (image: Getty Images)

What could the First Minister announce this week?

Nicola Sturgeon is expected to bring in additional rules, although it is not yet clear what tighter restrictions could entail.

Scotland’s Health Secretary Humza Yousaf told the BBC’s Good Morning Scotland programme on Monday morning that further restrictions were “inevitable”.

His comments followed those of Scotland’s Deputy First Minister John Swinney, who said this weekend that ministers were going to consider reimposing more restrictions.

It has already been announced that Scotland will attempt to offer boosters to all eligible adults before 2022 in line with the target Boris Johnson announced for England on Sunday night.

Mr Yousaf said this effort would be “extremely challenging”, adding that the Scottish Government would be drafting in the military to scale up the vaccination programme.

He also warned that some operations could be postponed.

“We’re going to have to strain every sinew that we possibly can in order to ensure we meet [the target],” Mr Yousaf said.

“That includes potentially having to move NHS staff away from other core duties to do this.”

When is Nicola Sturgeon’s next update?

The First Minister is expected to deliver an update in the Scottish Parliament at around 2pm on Tuesday (14 December).

After her address, Holyrood’s MSPs will question Ms Sturgeon about the announcement.

A stream of the announcement will be broadcast via the Scottish Government’s Twitter feed, as well as across the major news channels.

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