Speaking at a press conference in Glasgow ahead of the global climate change summit, which will see more than 20,000 people descend on Scotland’s biggest city over the next two weeks from across the world, public health chief Jason Leitch said that modelling expected any rise as a result of the event would not be immediate.
He said: “For the next two or three weeks, the modelling shows stability and maybe even a fall. It doesn't show an instant reaction to COP. The nature of the infectious disease is that any rise would come probably after COP. As we get further out, that modelling becomes less and less reliable, and therefore isn't much use to us to know what to do now.”
He said that people living in the central belt, where the vast majority of COP26 delegates are staying, should continue to follow government advice to avoid Covid.
He added: “Covid hasn't gone away. COP has arrived and Covid is still here. So the guidance and the rules around Covid behaviours, around your twice weekly testing or in going for your vaccination. All of those things things still apply, the vaccination centres will still be open, people will still be able to get their tests.
"I would ask them to be even more careful during this period, particularly as an example to our international visitors. who are following the stringent guidance too, because we don’t want to export virus, just like we don’t want to import virus.”
First minister Nicola Sturgeon said: “This event is bringing people from all around the world together to meet indoors in large numbers. And while the world is still in the midst of a pandemic, this inevitably posses a risk of increased Covid transmission. And I understand why that makes some people wary. However, I want to offer an assurance, again, that we are doing everything possible to mitigate these risks as far as is possible.”
She said the United Nations had taken steps to ensure as many delegates as possible were fully vaccinated, while anyone entering the “blue zone” of the event, will have to show a daily negative lateral flow test.