Covid Scotland: When is Nicola Sturgeon's next Omicron update? Will the restrictions be eased? How can I watch?

The First Minister is due to address MSPs in parliament tomorrow to update them on whether the restrictions introduced just after Christmas will be eased.

Monday, 17th January 2022, 6:06 pm

Nicola Sturgeon will give a statement in parliament at 2pm to share the latest data available as Covid-19 cases continue to put a heavy strain on the NHS.

Here is everything you need to know about the update.

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What are the latest case numbers of the Omicron variant?

In the last 24 hours Scotland has recorded 6,221 new cases of Covid-19 and no new deaths, according to latest figures released by the government.

The death toll under this measurement, of people who tested positive for the virus in the past 28 days, remains at 10,059.

A total of 1,557 people were in hospital on Sunday with recently confirmed Covid-19, six fewer than the day before, and 43 were in intensive care, up one.

Covid Scotland: When is Nicola Sturgeon's next Omicron update? Will the restrictions be eased? How can I watch? (Photo by Andy Buchanan - WPA Pool/Getty Images)

A note from the Scottish Government said that from Monday, cases are reported against the first positive reporting date from a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) or lateral flow test (LFD).

They were previously assigned to a PCR reporting date.

Officials also said one health board in Scotland has not been able to submit Covid-19 data since Sunday, so its data has been rolled forwards from Saturday.

4,400,229 people have received their first dose of a vaccination, 4,087,517 have received their second, and 3,204,311 have received a third dose or booster.

What is the First Minister expected to say?

Nicola Sturgeon will begin her update by sharing the latest Covid-19 statistics with MSPs. This will most likely include an explanation as to why there have been recent delays in the Public Health Scotland data, and why one health board is still facing issues.

It is then expected that she will announce whether limits on indoor events and restrictions on hospitality will be lifted from next Monday.

Ms Sturgeon said recently: “I think everybody wants to see Covid end so it follows that everybody – me included – wants to see all restrictions end.”

She said she is “cautiously optimistic" as the country was “in a better position than I feared we would be before Christmas”.

The First Minister added: “Looking at that data right now, we’ve got reasons to continue to be cautiously optimistic that we’re turning the corner on this Omicron wave.

“That’s because people have responded magnificently, they’ve behaved in a way that’s helped stem to some extent the transmission of Omicron and we took sensible, balanced, proportionate steps.”

Scottish Tory leader Douglas Ross said the current rules-based approach should be phased out in favour of public health advice.

From January 31, the party is calling for an end to business restrictions and an end to the existing guidance on household mixing and social distancing.

It said the vaccine passport scheme, which Ms Sturgeon is considering extending further, should be scrapped, face masks should no longer be used in schools and guidance on working from home should be phased out.

It is likely the First Minister will reiterate that there is still need for precautions to be in place to protect the NHS and the vulnerable in our society.

What time is the announcement?

The First Minister's statement in parliament will begin at around 2pm.

How can I watch?

The briefing will be available to watch live on Scottish Parliament TV.

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