The SNP Profile picture
29 Nov, 59 tweets, 9 min read
First Minister @NicolaSturgeon: "Good morning,

I am joined by the Chief Medical Officer.

Today’s full Covid statistics will be published later on.

However, I can confirm that the overall situation in Scotland remains stable at this stage."
NS: "We knew though that the weeks ahead would present real risks to this stability.

Colder weather forcing us indoors. Festive socialising. And a deteriorating situation in many countries across Europe."
NS: "However, over the past few days a new risk has emerged in the form of the Omicron variant.

It is that we want to update you on today."
NS: "I will set out what we know so far about the new variant - though I stress that there is still much that we and the rest of the world do not know about it."
NS: "I will give the most up to date information we have on cases identified so far in Scotland - though I expect that this will be a developing situation in the days ahead.

I will set out the actions we have considered it appropriate to take so far on a precautionary basis."
NS: "And I will remind everyone what we can all do - must do - to help contain the spread of the virus in general and this new variant in particular."
NS: "Firstly, what do we know at this stage?

The most important point to make - underlined in a briefing issued by the WHO last night - is that there is still a huge amount that we do not know about this variant."
NS: "The number of mutations that it has - and the nature of these - and some of the very early indications from Southern Africa have raised the concern that it might be more transmissible than the Delta variant which is currently dominant in Scotland."
NS: "However, much more data and analysis is required to be certain of this and, if it is more transmissible, to understand by how much.

Further work is also needed to confirm what impact it might have on the effectiveness of vaccines and the risk of re-infection."
NS: "The WHO said yesterday that preliminary evidence suggests there might be an increased risk of re-infection but stressed that information at this stage is still limited."
NS: "It also said that there is currently no information to suggest that the symptoms from Omicron are any different to those from other variants."
NS: "In other words, although more data is still required, there is no evidence at this stage to suggest that the disease caused by Omicron is more severe."
NS: "The days and weeks ahead will tell us much more about the nature of this variant and its implications for our response to the pandemic.

What we do know at this stage, though, confirms that we should treat it seriously, and act on a precautionary basis."
NS: "While we all hope the emerging understanding of it will reduce rather than increase our level of concern, there is no doubt that it presents - potentially - the most challenging development in the course of the pandemic for quite sometime."
NS: "Let me turn now to the situation in Scotland.

We have stepped up our surveillance in recent days and I want to thank public health teams for the work they are doing to ensure that we can detect cases quickly."
NS: "As we confirmed earlier today, that enhanced surveillance has identified 6 cases of the Omicron variant in Scotland so far - 4 in Lanarkshire and 2 in Greater Glasgow & Clyde."
NS: "It is important to stress that the contact tracing is still ongoing. But, at this stage, we know that not all of them have any recent travel history to or known links with others who travelled to the countries in Southern Africa where the variant was originally detected."
NS: "This suggests that there may already be some community transmission of this variant in Scotland but let me stress that there is no evidence yet that this is sustained - nor any evidence from the enhanced surveillance that it is widespread at this stage."
NS: "However, evidence of even limited community transmission underlines the importance of increasing our compliance with protections in place.

And I will turn now to the actions we have taken."
NS: "We have already reintroduced some travel restrictions – even with evidence of community transmission, these are important and I will say more about them shortly - but given that Omicron is already present in Scotland..."
NS: "..we also need to consider very carefully what steps are necessary and proportionate to reduce transmission here."
NS: "Some protections that the UK Government has announced in recent days in relation to England - for example a requirement to wear face coverings in some settings – are already in place, and in fact more extensive, here in Scotland."
NS: "At this stage, we are asking people to significantly step up and increase compliance with all existing precautions - face coverings, hygiene, getting vaccinated and regular testing.

We are also reminding people to work from home if possible."
NS: "As of today, employers should ensure that they are maximising home working.

However, this may be a fast-moving situation - so our response will be kept under close review as we learn more about the risk Omicron poses, and the nature of its transmission within Scotland."
NS: "A key part of our initial response, however, will be to identify cases as quickly as we can and, where possible, break chains of transmission.

To that end, additional testing will be undertaken in areas where cases have been identified."
NS: "Our local response will complement the UK-wide travel restrictions that aim to avoid importing new cases of the variant, while we are trying to curb community transmission."
NS: "Even with cases already here, it is important to do what we can to prevent new seeding of the variant."
NS: "So in line with the rest of the UK, we have reinstated the red list of countries, and to date 10 countries from southern Africa have been added to that red list."
NS: "Anybody travelling back to Scotland from those 10 countries must enter managed quarantine for 10 days on their arrival."
NS: "In addition, anyone arriving in Scotland from anywhere outside the common travel area, will be asked to take a PCR Covid test on the second day of their arrival, and self-isolate until they get the result of that test back."
NS: "We know, however, that the incubation period for this virus is very often more than 2 days.

So our view is that it would be sensible on a precautionary basis for these travel rules to be tightened further.

That view is shared by the Welsh Government."
NS: "I had a call yesterday with the Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford, and he and I have written a joint letter to the Prime Minister."
NS: "We are proposing a tougher four-nations approach to travel restrictions at this stage that would see people arriving in the UK from overseas asked to self-isolate for eight days. In our proposal, they would take a PCR test on day eight of their arrival, as well as on day 2."
NS: "We believe that this measure would be more effective in identifying cases of the Omicron variant which result from overseas travel, and therefore at preventing further community transmission from imported cases."
NS: "As we know from earlier stages of the pandemic, with so many people travelling to Scotland and Wales via airports in England, anything less than a 4 nations approach to requirements like this will be ineffective. We therefore hope that a 4 nations agreement can be reached."
NS: "A four-nations approach requires that the four nations discuss these issues together, and hear the best advice available."
NS: "That is why Mark Drakeford and I are also calling on the Prime Minister to immediately convene a COBR meeting - with representation from each nation - to discuss how we work together to tackle this variant."
NS: "Mark Drakeford and I are also conscious of the very real concern businesses and staff will feel at the possibility of further protections becoming necessary."
NS: "We all hope this will not be necessary but it is prudent to plan ahead, and so we have sought confirmation that - should any further protections be necessary - Treasury funding will be available to any of the four nations that requires to activate business support schemes."
NS: "Given the serious tone and content of my statement today, I want to stress this.

It is always important in the face of new developments in this virus to prepare for the worst.

But that does not mean we are not still hoping for the best. We are."
NS: "I very much hope that additional protections can be avoided. We will seek to act at all times in a proportionate manner."
NS: "I want to end by stressing what we can all do. Vaccination remains our most important line of defence. We had already outlined last week that the Scottish Government was working to accelerate the vaccination programme."
NS: "We will now step up those efforts even more.

We're expecting a statement later today from the JCVI confirming its advice on vaccination."
NS: "The Scottish Government is getting ready to operationalise any new recommendations from the JCVI - for example in relation to the interval of booster jags, or the range of people who can receive the booster - as quickly as is possible."
NS: "It is important to remember that even if - and I want to stress that it is still an if - if vaccines do prove to be less effective against this new variant, vaccination will still be important.

Less effective does not mean ineffective."
NS: "If anything, in fact, the new variant makes it more important – not less important – to get all doses of vaccine.

Over the weekend, 40-49 year olds became able to book boosters through NHS Inform.

Older age groups can already do so."
NS: "So if you are 40 or over, go to the website, and book a booster for when you are due.

And if you haven’t yet had your first or second doses, please book them now."
NS: "The Scottish government will consider carefully in the coming days whether any further actions are required, as we get more information about the impact of Omicron, and the extent of its presence in Scotland."
NS: "But the point I want to stress now is that the same measures that worked against previous strains of this virus, will also help us curb transmission of this new variant."
NS: "So if in recent weeks you’ve been sticking a bit less strictly to the public health advice, which is entirely understandable, now is the time to start following it rigorously again.

Every one of us can make a difference in protecting ourselves and each other."
NS: "So let me end with a reminder of what everyone can do.

These steps are now vital. Please do not see them as optional.

First of all, get vaccinated."
NS: "It's the single most important thing we can do to protect each other.

Secondly, test for Covid regularly. Over the coming days, we’ll be providing mobile testing units in areas where the new variant has been identified."
NS: "But for all of us, wherever we are, regular lateral flow testing is a really important way of finding out whether we might have the virus."
NS: "So on any occasion that you intend to socialise, or mix with people from other households - whether that is in a pub, restaurant, house or shopping centre - do an LFD test. You can order testing kits online, or pick them up from local pharmacies or testing centres."
NS: "And finally, comply with the existing protections.

Wear face coverings on public transport, in shops, and when moving about in hospitality settings.

Keep windows open to improve ventilation.

Follow all advice on hygiene.

And work from home if you can."
NS: "The Economy Secretary will be meeting business organisations later this afternoon. She will stress again that home working when possible will help us get through the winter more safely.

The discovery of the new variant makes these measures more important than ever."
NS: "They will make a difference. And by sticking with them, we give ourselves the best possible chance of enjoying a more normal Christmas, and a safer Christmas. And hopefully, avoiding the need for any tighter protections in the weeks to come."
NS: "Please, let's all of us make sure we up our compliance right now. This is a concerning development right now, but we if we take it as a reminder not to let our guard slip, then I hope we can protect the stronger position that we had already got ourselves into."
NS: "So please, get vaccinated, get tested, and comply with the protections in place. Thank you to everybody for doing all of these things, and for what I know everybody will be seeking to do in the weeks ahead."

• • •

Missing some Tweet in this thread? You can try to force a refresh

Keep Current with The SNP

The SNP Profile picture

Stay in touch and get notified when new unrolls are available from this author!

Read all threads

This Thread may be Removed Anytime!


Twitter may remove this content at anytime! Save it as PDF for later use!

Try unrolling a thread yourself!

how to unroll video
  1. Follow @ThreadReaderApp to mention us!

  2. From a Twitter thread mention us with a keyword "unroll"
@threadreaderapp unroll

Practice here first or read more on our help page!

More from @theSNP

30 Nov
📢 @Ianblackford_MP: “Madame Deputy Speaker, the SNP is bringing forward this motion of censure against this Prime Minister because we believe in a very basic principle – and we believe the public does too.” Image
📢 @Ianblackford_MP: “Those in power deserve to face consequences for their disastrous actions – and they need to be held to account.

And the charge sheet against the Prime Minister is damning.”
📢 IB: “In the last few weeks alone Boris Johnson:
❌ ripped up anti-lobbying rules when one of his own was found guilty

❌ He is attempting to restrict the right to judicial review

❌ And he is seeking to undermine the independence of the Electoral Commission.”
Read 75 tweets
29 Nov
🤝 We're determined to build a Scotland free from child poverty.

💷 That's why from April 2022, we are doubling the Scottish Child Payment - the only benefit of its kind in the UK - to £20 a week.

👇🏼 Here's how charities, campaigners, academics and experts have reacted. #SNP21
📣 Child Poverty Action Group, @CPAGScotland:

"This is a real lifeline for the families across Scotland who are facing a perfect storm of financial insecurity as the UK cut to Universal Credit bites..."

@CPAGScotland 📣 @PovertyAlliance: "The decision to double the Scottish Child Payment from April is one that will loosen the grip of poverty on the lives of thousands of children in Scotland."

Read 12 tweets
29 Nov
📺 Watch @NicolaSturgeon's speech to the #SNP21 Conference, setting out how we're building a more progressive Scotland and outlining our path to independence.

⏰ Tune in from 12:10pm on, on SNP social media, or follow this thread for live updates.
@NicolaSturgeon NS: "Good afternoon everyone.

Welcome to the SNP’s annual conference - an occasion much enjoyed by party members across the country.

Sadly, we are meeting online again. Given current circumstances, this is sensible - but I hope, in spring, we’ll be together in person.” #SNP21
@NicolaSturgeon NS: “Our debates and discussion are much better when we meet up, and I can’t wait to see you all again.

Of course being forced to take a political conference online is a mere inconvenience compared to the sacrifices made by so many over these past two years.” #SNP21
Read 157 tweets
28 Nov
📺 Watch @Ianblackford_MP's speech to #SNP21, exposing the constant scandals at Westminster and setting out Scotland's path to independence.

⏰ Tune in now on, stream on the SNP social media channels, or follow this thread for updates.
@Ianblackford_MP IB: "Conference, as always, it is a pleasure to address you as our party’s Westminster leader.

And given that we are gathering in late November – let me take the chance to wish each and every one of you a very happy St Andrew’s Day on Tuesday." #SNP21
@Ianblackford_MP IB: "But just as I think of Saint Andrew – who history tells us made his way right across Europe on small boats - my thoughts naturally turn to the truly heart-breaking events in the Channel." #SNP21
Read 62 tweets
28 Nov
📺 Watch @Ianblackford_MP live on the Sunday Show, on Day Three of the #SNP21 Conference.

⏰ Tune in from 10:15am on BBC One Scotland.
@Ianblackford_MP 📣 @Ianblackford_MP: "We have a mandate for an independence referendum, we won an election, there's a clear majority in the Scottish Parliament and there will be a Bill published to enact the will of the people in Scotland."
@Ianblackford_MP 📣 IB: "The First Minister has said that once we've dealt with the pandemic, let's get this out of the way, and in ideal circumstances we will be having that referendum in 2023."
Read 6 tweets
28 Nov
📺 Watch @NicolaSturgeon live on #Marr this morning, as Day Three of the #SNP21 Conference gets underway.

⏰ Tune in on BBC One from 9:35.
@NicolaSturgeon 📣 First Minister @NicolaSturgeon: "There are no cases of Omicron identified in Scotland yet that we know of, but clearly it's a moving picture and we're monitoring this very closely." #Marr
@NicolaSturgeon NS: "It's important to get a proportionate response to this - but I think we might have to go further on travel in the next few days. I hope I'm wrong about that but we must keep our options open." #Marr
Read 9 tweets

Did Thread Reader help you today?

Support us! We are indie developers!

This site is made by just two indie developers on a laptop doing marketing, support and development! Read more about the story.

Become a Premium Member ($3/month or $30/year) and get exclusive features!

Become Premium

Too expensive? Make a small donation by buying us coffee ($5) or help with server cost ($10)

Donate via Paypal

Thank you for your support!

Follow Us on Twitter!