Scots are told to CANCEL Christmas parties

Scots are told to CANCEL Christmas parties: Public Health Scotland says people should delay the festive celebrations due to fears over rising Omicron cases

  • Families in Scotland have been strongly urged to delay Christmas celebrations
  • It comes as 108 confirmed cases of mutant strain Omicron have been reported
  • Nearly half of these cases recorded in the 20 to 39 age bracket, figures show   
  • Dr Nick Phin says delaying plans would help to ‘protect ourselves and loved ones’
  • Nicola Sturgeon also ramped up work from home orders for Scots on Tuesday

Public Health Scotland has told people they should delay Christmas parties due to fears over the rising number of Omicron cases in the country.

A total of 108 cases of the mutant Covid strain were reported in Scotland between November 1 and December 8, with official figures showing nearly half of all positive tests are in the 20-39 age bracket. 

Dr Nick Phin, the director of public health science and medical director at Public Health Scotland, has now urged families to put off any planned festive celebrations to help in the battle against the raging variant.

He said: ‘To help minimise the further spread of Covid-19, and Omicron in particular, I would strongly urge people to defer their Christmas parties to another time.’

Latest Scottish Government figures also show there were 16 coronavirus deaths and 3,196 cases recorded within the past 24 hours.

It brought Scotland’s Covid death toll, under the daily measure of people who first tested positive within the previous 28 days, to 9,688.  

A total of 108 cases of the mutant Covid strain were reported in Scotland between November 1 and December 8

In a plea to Scotland residents, Dr Phin said: ‘There is much that we still need to learn about Omicron, but early evidence suggests that this new Covid variant is much more transmissible.

‘The impact of this transmissibility has been seen in recent weeks, with a number of Omicron outbreaks linked to parties.

‘We still need to learn more about the severity of disease caused by Omicron and the effectiveness of vaccines, but there are important things that we can do to help protect ourselves and our families now.

‘I appreciate that everyone is keen to celebrate this festive season, particularly after the pressures of the last 20 months, but by postponing some plans we can all do our bit to protect ourselves and our loved ones.’

The health body has also urged people to test at least twice weekly with lateral flow devices and each time they are socialising with people outside their household.

It also advised that, as well as vaccinating and receiving booster jabs, people should follow other public health advice of handwashing and wearing face masks.  

The latest data, published on Thursday, shows a total of 4,358,725 people have received their first dose of a Covid-19 vaccination in Scotland, while 3,967,477 are double jabbed and 2,000,915 have received a third dose or booster.

In Scotland, vaccine passports have been in force since October, with people who are attending nightclubs, indoor events (unseated) with 500 or more people, outdoor events (unseated) with 4,000 or more people and any event with 10,000 or more having to show they are double vaccinated before entering. 

Since December 6, a negative PCR test taken within 24 hours of entry to a venue or a negative lateral flow test have also been accepted as part of the passes. Scotland’s Covid passes are called the NHS Scotland COVID Status app.  

Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon attends First Minster’s Questions (FMQ’s) at the Scottish Parliament on Thursday

A courier walks towards a testing station at Edinburgh Airport on Monday after the UK government tightened rules due to the spread of Omicron variant

 Christmas revellers have been urged to delay festive parties as part of a bid to tackle the rapid spread of the Omicron Covid variant

It comes as a total of 389 confirmed confirmed or possible cases have now been reported, with 108 cases confirmed between November 1 and December 8.

Of that figure, 48 per cent were aged 20 to 39. 

Public Health Scotland says there has been early detection of a large number of cases at events which typically attract younger people.

It includes six Omicron cases in Scotland being linked to a Steps concert at Glasgow’s Hydro venue on November 22. 

Nicola Sturgeon also ramped up work from home orders for Scots on Tuesday, demanding businesses make sure people stay away from offices. 

Amid fears that the mutant strain is on track to sweep the country within weeks, the First Minister insisted that none of the current restrictions north of the border will be eased before Christmas.

The SNP leader said: ‘I know this is difficult, but I cannot stress enough how much difference we think this could make in helping stem transmission and avoid the need for even more onerous measures.’

In a direct call to employers, Ms Sturgeon added: ‘If you had staff working from home at this start of the pandemic, please now enable them to do so again’.

She also urged Scots to follow rules around testing and self-isolation should they have symptoms, as well as regular lateral flow testing.

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