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First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announces new measures to tackle Omicron variant

By John Davidson

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Nicola Sturgeon.
Nicola Sturgeon.

Large-scale gatherings will be banned to help cut the transmission of Omicron, the First Minister has announced.

Speaking at Holyrood, Nicola Sturgeon confirmed that Omicron was now the dominant strain of Covid in Scotland, accounting for 62.9 per cent of all cases of the virus in the country.

She said that from Boxing Day the Scottish Government intends to restrict numbers at public events – meaning many sports events as well as Hogmanay gatherings, including Edinburgh's famous street party, will not go ahead.

No more than 100 people will be allowed at indoor standing events, 200 at seated events and there will be a limit of 500 at all outdoors events.

Highlighting the potential for such events to act as super-spreaders, Ms Sturgeon told MSPs: "Limiting these events helps reduce the risk of widespread transmission.

"It also cuts down the transmission risks associated with travel to and from such events.

"And these large events put an additional burden on emergency services, especially the police and ambulance services."

Hospitality and leisure venues will also have to re-introduce 1m distancing between groups – which are restricted to three households – and businesses serving alchohol will have to return to table service only.

Ms Sturgeon said it had identified a total of £375 million of support for businesses, but that the £1 billion announced by Chancellor Rishi Sunak did not provide any new money for the Scottish Government.

There will be further limits on indoor contact sports for adults.

The First Minister also requested that, from December 27, people should limit social contacts and stay at home as much as possible.

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