AS NEW international travel restrictions in response to the new Omicron variant of the Covid-19 virus come into force, first minister Nicola Sturgeon has reiterated the need for people to get vaccinated if they have not already done so.
And she called on people to follow all the existing Covid measures such as wearing face masks and testing regularly, particularly before meeting other people.
Sturgeon also stressed the importance of ensuring thorough hand hygiene, ventilating rooms regularly and working from home wherever possible.
Meanwhile, the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) is recommending that Covid booster jabs should be offered to all over-18 year olds to help stem the potential wave of new cases driven by the Omicron variant.
The committee also recommends that children aged 12 to 15 should be invited to receives a second vaccination dose three months after the first.
The first minister’s Covid update on Monday morning came after six cases of the new variant were identified in Scotland, with the number expected to rise sharply over coming days.
The first minister said: “The discovery of the new variant makes these measures more important than ever before.
“They will make a difference and by sticking to them we will give ourselves the best possible chance of enjoying a more normal Christmas we are all looking forward to but enjoying not just a more normal but a safer Christmas too, and hopefully avoiding the need for any tighter protections in the weeks to come.
“Please let’s all of us make sure that we up our compliance right now; this of course is a concerning development, but if we take it as a reminder not to let our guards slip then I hope we can protect the stronger position that we already got ourselves into.”
The number of local cases continues to fall, as public health consultants at NHS Shetland predicted last week.
On Monday just one new case was added to the total while seven were recorded over the weekend. The seven-day case rate per 100,000 population has now come down to 240 after being one of the highest in Scotland for a short period.
Locum public health consultant Dr Dermot Gorman also urged people to get their booster vaccinations and follow the guidelines as reiterated by the first minister.
“With regard to the new Omicron variant, we are in touch with Public Health Scotland which is monitoring the position closely and identifying any people in Scotland with possible links to red list countries or Omicron cases,” he said.
“These individuals are being asked to do additional tests with stringent isolation restrictions and enhanced contact tracing in place. NHS Shetland has not been advised of any individuals in Shetland that fall into this category.”
With regards to booking booster appointments Dr Gorman added: “We are aware that some people have received a text message saying they can now book their Covid boosters through the online booking system.
“We are working with the national team to resolve some minor issues and will advise as soon as this booking system is operational for Shetland, but this is anticipated to be in the next day or two.”
From 4am on Tuesday international travel and quarantine requirements for fully vaccinated people arriving in Scotland will change. The rules for people who are not fully vaccinated will stay the same. Details can be found on the Scottish Government website here.
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