Nicola Sturgeon calls for stricter travel restrictions as concerns grow about omicron covid variant

Nicola Sturgeon has called for stricter travel restrictions as concerns grow about the new Omicron covid variant.

The first Minister People coming to the UK from abroad want to self-isolate for eight days in a bid to control a boom that originated in South Africa.

Sturgeon, who called Omicron “the most challenging development of the pandemic for some time,” also called for measures to be taken on a four-country basis.

The Scottish government confirmed this morning that six cases Omicron They have been identified in Scotland, with four in Lanarkshire and two in the Greater Clyde and Glasgow area.

At the weekend, it was agreed that passengers arriving in the UK from 4am on Tuesday will be required to take a PCR test by the end of their second day of entry and isolate until they receive a negative test.

Ten South African countries were also added to the travel red list, with the World Health Organization describing the global risk posed by the alternative as “extremely high”.

At the hastily convened Covid summit, Sturgeon said she and Welsh First Minister Mark Druckford were calling for international travel rules to be tightened further.

Nicola Sturgeon gave a COVID briefing after confirmed cases of the omicron variant
Nicola Sturgeon gave a COVID briefing after confirmed cases of the omicron variant

“We know however that the incubation period for this virus is often more than two days. So our view is that it would be sensible on a precautionary basis for these travel rules to be tightened further – these are A view shared by the Welsh government.

I had a call yesterday with Prime Minister Mark Druckford. This morning he and I wrote a joint letter to the Prime Minister. We are proposing a tougher four-country approach to travel restrictions at this point which would see people arriving in the UK from abroad being asked to self-isolate for 8 days.”

She added: “Under our proposal, they will undergo a PCR test on the eighth day of their arrival as well as on the second day. We believe that this procedure will be more effective in identifying cases of this variant, which are caused by travel abroad, and thus help us prevent community transmission of imported cases.”

Sturgeon also endorsed the four-nation approach and said, “Mark Druckford and I also called the Prime Minister today for a Cobra meeting immediately.”

More broadly, she said, “What we know at this point confirms, in my opinion, that we must take it seriously and that we must continue to act on a precautionary basis at this point.

“While we all hope that an emerging understanding of it will reduce rather than increase our level of anxiety, there is no doubt that this has been the most challenging development in the course of the pandemic for some time.”

However, she said the Scottish government was not considering regional travel restrictions within the UK.

The first minister also said she was not aware that any of the people who had tested positive for Omicron in Scotland were in hospital.

In a joint letter with Drakeford to Boris Johnson, she also said financial support should be available to mandated states if they decide to go further with restrictions than England.

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