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Omicron cases in Scotland up to 29 as Steps gig linked to new variant outbreak

·3 min read

Omicron cases in Scotland have jumped by 16 in the past 24 hours to 29, with a Steps concert among the sources.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon warned they may rise “significantly” in the coming days as the variant is now circulating in the community.

The update comes as Scotland recorded 16 coronavirus-linked deaths and 2,432 new cases in the past 24 hours.

Previously, nine Omicron cases were linked to a single private event, but the First Minister said there are now several different sources of infections of the new variant, including a Steps concert at the Hydro in Glasgow on Monday November 22.

Six cases are understood to be linked to this event, but the risk to attendees is said to be low.

Cases of the new variant have been recorded in Highland, Grampian and Forth Valley health boards for the first time, at three, one and five respectively.

The health boards where the outbreak was first recorded, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde and NHS Lanarkshire, have 11 and nine cases respectively.

Ms Sturgeon said: “The number of Omicron cases now being reported in Scotland is rising, and cases are no longer all linked to a single event, but to several different sources including a Steps concert at the Hydro on November 22.

“This confirms our view that there is now community transmission of this variant within Scotland. Given the nature of transmission we would expect to see cases rise, perhaps significantly, in the days ahead.

“However, health protection teams are continuing work through contact tracing, isolation and testing to slow the spread as far as possible while we learn more about the new variant’s impact. Ministers are also keeping the situation under daily review.”

Those who may have come into contact with the new variant at the Steps concert are being contacted.

Attendees do not need to isolate, unless asked to by Test and Protect or if they develop symptoms.

NHS Lanarkshire urged people to help cut the spread of the new variant by taking regular lateral flow tests, getting vaccinated and following coronavirus hygiene measures.

Dr Femi Oshin, NHS Lanarkshire Covid-19 public health tactical lead, said: “Regular testing is particularly important ahead of social gatherings or mixing with other households in the run up to Christmas. Testing kits are available for free in walk-in centres, community pharmacies and online.

“The other measures in place are even more so important at this time. Remember to wash your hands regularly, be up to date with your Covid-19 vaccine, maintain social distancing, ventilate rooms, wear a face covering where appropriate and work from home if possible.

“If you show any symptoms, make sure you book a PCR test and isolate until you know your results. If you are eligible for your booster or you are still to receive a first or second dose of the Covid-19 vaccine, then please call or book online to get vaccinated.

The coronavirus death toll under the daily measure, of people who first tested positive for the virus within the previous 28 days, is 9,634 across Scotland.

The daily test positivity rate was 7.6%, according to data published by the Scottish Government on Friday, up from 7.4% the previous day.

There were 652 people in hospital with recently confirmed Covid-19 as of Wednesday night, down 28 in 24 hours and, of these, 46 people were in intensive care, down two.

So far, 4,350,133 people have received their first dose of a Covid-19 vaccination, 3,954,992 have had a second, and 1,790,728 have been given a third dose or booster.

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