Scotland could face new measures to curb the rapid spread of covid from the new Omicron variant, John Swinney has warned.
The Deputy Prime Minister said that the government must be “candid” with the public about the danger of the highly transmissible strain, with an evidence document indicating that the variant “threatens a rapid and significant increase” in infections.
The upper range of the document’s worst-case projection for the Omicron variant is just below 25,000 cases per day by December 20, while the most likely worst-case range will see cases rise slightly. more than 15,000.
In his appearance on BBC At breakfast, Mr Swinney said ministers were considering whether tougher restrictions would be introduced next week and any changes would be shared with the public in the coming days.
He said: “We are considering whether we need to take any further steps to try to stop the virus from circulating.
“These numbers that I gave you, out of 2% of cases a week ago, 15% now. We had a huge increase in cases yesterday, over 5,000 a day.
“This suggests that we have a worsening problem, so the government is grappling with the challenge of knowing what the right rules are to put in place this weekend and we will obviously share more details on any other changes we have. propose to bring with Parliament in the next few days. “
He comes after the Scottish Government announced new measures this week to prevent what Prime Minister Nicola Sturgeon has described as a “tsunami” of infections at Omicron.
Scots have been urged to postpone the celebrations given the number of outbreaks linked to the Christmas holidays.
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Household contacts of positive cases will also be forced to self-isolate regardless of testing negative for the virus.
Mr Swinney added: “We have to judge what is the best set of measures we can take to try to disrupt the circulation of the virus. We cannot make it evolve at the rate it is evolving now, because the danger is that we will overwhelm our public and private services.
“We were already faced yesterday with major cancellations of rail services due to the self-isolation of rail personnel, so this is going to affect us and we have to be upfront with people about the dangers we face.”