Scotland Expects Omicron Variant to Overtake Delta Within Days
(Bloomberg) -- The Scottish government expects omicron to overtake delta as the prevalent Covid-19 variant within days after a jump in infections that’s prompted health officials to tighten the rules on self-isolation.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said the country will require more case contacts to stay home regardless of vaccination status and recommended workplace Christmas parties should be postponed. U.K. leaders will discuss the latest stage of the pandemic at a so-called Cobra meeting later on Friday.
Omicron has led to the fastest exponential growth in cases since the beginning of the pandemic, Sturgeon said at a televised briefing in Edinburgh. “This is doubling on a very rapid basis,” she said. The 110 confirmed cases in Scotland are “the tip of the iceberg” and up 10-fold since last week.
Scotland is responsible for its own health policies and it has often foreshadowed wider moves across the U.K. during the pandemic. The administration has kept the requirement for mask wearing in public places and this week urged people to work from home if possible until January. That was a day before the U.K. government moved to its “Plan B” for home-working and face coverings returning to stores and on public transportation.
Public Health Scotland earlier advised people to cancel Christmas parties at hospitality venues following a spate of cases involving the omicron variant linked to gatherings. How the U.K. celebrates Christmas has been overshadowed in recent days. Prime Minister Boris Johnson has been caught up in a scandal over festivities at Downing Street while the country was in lockdown last year.
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