In order to stop the spread of the Covid variant strain, Nicola Sturgeon has said that “preventative action may be necessary”
Confirming that this afternoon she will be hosting a Scottish Cabinet meeting, the First Minister tweeted, “I will chair @scotgov’s Cabinet meeting this afternoon following a 4-nation Covid phone call earlier to discuss new evidence on the new variant.”
Conference on the latest strain of coronavirus by Nicola Sturgeon
“Cases in Scotland currently at lower level than in UK – but preventative measures may be needed to stop faster spreading strain gaining a foothold.”
I will chair the cabinet meeting of @scotgov this afternoon following a 4-nation COVID conference call earlier to review new data on the new variant. The number of cases in Scotland is currently lower than in the UK, but preventive steps could be required to avoid the spreading of the strain faster. https://t.co/kGLC5ZMboA
– Nicola Sturgeon December 19, 2020 (@NicolaSturgeon)
Boris Johnson is holding a press conference in England despite rising infection rates.
At 112.6 instances per 100,000 of the population, Scotland has the lowest case rate in the UK.
That compares to Wales with 571.7, England with 219.6 and Northern Ireland with 174.9.
41 coronavirus deaths and 572 positive tests have been reported north of the border in the past 24 hours, with the rate of positive tests falling from 4.2 percent to 4.0 percent.
In recent days, both Health Secretary Jeane Freeman of Scotland and Deputy First Minister John Swinney have declined to rule out a post-Christmas lockdown.
Ms. Freeman said on Friday that “every possible option remains on the table,” while Mr. Swinney said on Thursday that the Scottish government “will make decisions that are sustainable for a period into January and February to protect the public interest.”
There are five levels of coronavirus restrictions in Scotland, with most countries currently at Level 3 – the second highest level.
On Tuesday, a study of the levels is to take place.
This comes at a time when it is expected that Boris Johnson will address the nation at a press conference at 4 p.m. following the introduction of a second, more quickly spreading Covid version.
Coronavirus Scotland: 572 new 24-hour covid cases with 41 fresh deaths
The United Kingdom told the World Health Organization that the new strain of the coronavirus could spread more rapidly, Professor Chris Whitty, chief medical officer for England, said.
“As announced on Monday, the United Kingdom has identified a new variant of Covid-19 through genomic surveillance conducted by Public Health England,” he said in a statement.
“The New and Emerging Respiratory Virus Threats Advisory Group (NERVTAG) now believes that the new strain may spread more rapidly, based on the rapid spread of the new version, preliminary modeling evidence, and rapidly growing incidence rates in the Southeast.
Virus numbers are already growing in Scotland, one week before Christmas.
“We have alerted the World Health Organization and continue to analyze the available data to improve our understanding,” he said.
Currently, there is no evidence that the new strain causes increased mortality or that vaccines and medications are affected, while urgent work is underway to confirm this.
“In light of this latest development, it is more important than ever that the public continue to take action in their communities to reduce transmission.”