Nicola Sturgeon warns more travel curbs could be needed to combat Omicron strain with restricting English border a ‘last resort’ – as she says Scots should ‘assume’ the ‘super-mutant’ will arrive there

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  • Nicola Sturgeon warns people to ‘assume’ Omicron will come to Scotland
  • SNP leader suggests more travel restrictions may be needed in days
  • Rejects idea of ​​closing border with England, saying it would be a ‘last resort’

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Nicola Sturgeon insisted today that people should assume there will be Omicron cases in Scotland as she warned that more travel restrictions may be needed in the coming days.

The SNP leader said that so far there has been no infection from the ‘super-mutant’ identified north of the border.

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But she insisted it was unlikely to continue, and that officials “might need to go further on restricting travel”.

Asked on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show whether she would consider closing the border with England, Ms Sturgeon said it was difficult – but she pointed out that the Scottish government in the past has allowed UK countries to travel between countries. advised against.

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He may be in a ‘last resort’ again, she said.

On the possibility of more restrictions, Ms Sturgeon said: ‘I think we need to have an open mind to do anything that is needed to keep the population safe right now.’

The remarks came as Sajid Javid desperately tried to calm the panic over the new edition, insisting that it is going to be a great Christmas and the UK is nowhere near a proper lockdown.

The health secretary said the government was taking ‘proportionate and balanced’ precautions to ‘buy time’, confirming that masks will again be mandatory in shops and on public transport in England from Tuesday. This is already the case in Scotland.

Nicola Sturgeon insisted today that people should assume there will be Omicron cases in Scotland as she warned that more travel restrictions may be needed in the coming days.

Boris Johnson announced changes to testing and isolation rules, and mandatory masks in shops and trains in England to prevent the spread of the highly permeable new variant.

Boris Johnson announced changes to testing and isolation rules, and mandatory masks in shops and trains in England to prevent the spread of the highly permeable new variant.

According to a message on the Passenger Locator Forms section of the government’s website, the second day’s tests for arrival in the UK will also require PCR instead of lateral flow from 4am on Tuesday.

Ms Sturgeon said this morning: ‘I hope we do not identify cases in Scotland, but I think we must assume that we will. So, I’m asking people to behave at this time as if this new version exists in Scotland, follow all the mitigations and protections currently in place, lift our compliance, and it will help us, if it is here. , then slow down any risk of transmission.’

While she stressed the need for a ‘proportionate response’ to this latest development in the pandemic, Ms Sturgeon said: ‘I think we may have to go further on restricting travel in the coming days.

‘I hope I’m wrong about this, but we must keep our minds open to it.’

She refused to impose another ban on indoor mixing between households, although she was clear that ‘none of us want to go back to such restrictions’.

She said, ‘We’ve been living with it for almost two years now, we’re all sick and tired of it.

But she continued: ‘I’m not going to sit here, 48 hours after detecting a variant of this virus that may be transmitting faster than Delta – and Delta was transmitting faster than before – which Vaccines Can Survive To some extent, I’m not one to sit and dismiss anything.

Ms Sturgeon tried to play down the idea of ​​changing the rules at the border with England, but said: ‘We have at times advised against travel across the border of England and Scotland as a last resort in the pandemic.’

Mr Javid stressed that there is no certainty that the ‘super-mutant’ strain will be able to dodge vaccines, or the extent to which it can.

And when asked whether strict restrictions like social distancing could return, he said the government is “nowhere” there.

Urging people to keep planning for the festive season, Mr Javid told Sky News: ‘It’s going to be a wonderful Christmas.’

The cabinet minister said he was still only aware of two Omicron cases in the UK.

Mr Javid said the government would consider updating the recognized symptoms for Covid, after telling the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show that reports in southern Africa suggested people had not lost their sense of smell or taste and had more fatigue. had to face.

He said, ‘If we need to, we will definitely do it.

The reassurance effort came after Boris Johnson announced changes to testing and isolation rules, and Mandatory masks in shops and trains to prevent the spread of the highly permeable new variant.

At last night’s hasty Downing Street press conference, the PM painted a grim picture of the potential threat from the new ‘super-mutant’ strain – acknowledging that he cannot guarantee that Christmas will go ahead as expected.

Mr Johnson reversed the unlocking as he extended travel restrictions, implemented day-two PCR testing for arrivals in the UK, and made facemasks mandatory in shops and on trains.

Everyone arriving in the country must self-isolate until they get a negative result from a gold-standard test – which can identify those carrying Omicron.

All contacts of people infected with the variant should stay at home for 10 days.

Sajid Javid desperately tries to calm panic over new edition today, insisting it's 'going to be a great Christmas' and UK is 'nowhere' proper lockdown

Sajid Javid desperately tries to calm panic over new edition today, insisting it’s ‘going to be a great Christmas’ and UK is ‘nowhere’ proper lockdown

Mr Javid said this morning that he expected the additional measures to be ‘temporary’, adding that he thinks people will take it more seriously.

Speaking to Trevor Phillips on Sky News on Sunday, Sajid Javid said: ‘Doing it in this proportionate way where it is for public transport, it is for retail stores, I think is the right level of response to masks .

‘It will be through government regulation and that means, I think people will take it seriously.’

Asked if people would follow the rules on masks, Mr Javid said after news of a new edition: ‘I think people will take it more seriously.’

Mr Javid said: ‘It is important, I think, to act in a proportionate manner and also in a temporary way.

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