All nine cases of the Omicron COVID-19 variant detected in Scotland are linked to a “single private event” held on Nov. 20, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said.
Sturgeon said that the nine individuals were tested on or around Nov. 23 and had been self-isolating since then.
Sturgeon also said that none of the nine individuals had so far required hospital care and that none had any recent travel history to southern Africa countries, where scientists first detected the new variant, suggesting that there was a community transmission of the variant.
“There is so far nothing in the wider look-back exercise that Public Health Scotland has undertaken to suggest that community transmission of the new variant is either sustained or widespread,” Sturgeon added.
Sturgeon said that more Omicron cases was “highly likely — indeed almost certain” to emerge in Scotland in the coming days.
“However, the enhanced surveillance gives us the best possible chance of identifying cases quickly and, through isolation of index cases and close contacts and targeted testing, of then breaking transmission chains and containing spread while we learn more about the variant,” Sturgeon added.
Sturgeon also stressed that any potential links between the Omicron cases and the COP26 Climate Summit held in Glasgow from Oct. 31 to Nov. 13 were being investigated, but the timing meant this was “improbable.”
Sturgeon also asked the public to “significantly step up and increase compliance with existing protections,” including wearing masks, getting vaccinated, and testing regularly.
Of the nine Scottish cases, five are in Lanarkshire while four are in the Greater Glasgow and Clyde health board areas, bringing the total number of Omicron cases in the United Kingdom to 22.
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