Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has asked Scots to take Covid tests when shopping or going to the pub.
Scotland’s national clinical director has warned on Tuesday that if people are forced to self-isolate there there would likely be closures of schools and businesses this month.
Sturgeon told MSPs, “Please remember that you can have this virus, even if you have no symptoms, so testing regularly and repeatedly with lateral flow devices is essential.
“We are asking everyone to do a lateral flow test before mixing with people from other households and on every occasion that you intend on doing so.
“That means before going to a pub, to a restaurant, visiting someone else’s house, or even going shopping.
“I am not excluding myself from this, I am currently doing a test every morning before going to work.
“I will do a test on any occasion I mix with others over the festive period and I will ask anyone visiting my home over Christmas to do likewise.
“I am asking every member of this parliament to lead by example and to do that too.”
Sturgeon added, “By doing that, we do give ourselves the best possible chance of enjoying a Christmas that is more normal, but also safe – and of avoiding a new year hangover of spiralling cases.”
Scotland has seen Omicron cases increase by tenfold in a week as the total number of infections now stands at 99 and Sturgeon expects cases to keep rising.
Speaking from Holyrood, the First Minister said, “The emergence of Omicron is a significant challenge for all of us – a variant which is more transmissible than Delta and which has even a limited ability to evade natural or vaccine immunity has the potential to put additional pressure on the NHS.
“A key point is this the sheer number of people who could be reinfected as a result of of this variant.”
She added, “Our estimate at this time is that the doubling time for Omicron cases may be as short as two days.”