Scots told to limit mixing to just 3 households over Christmas as Sturgeon puts pressure on PM to toughen restrictions


SCOTS have been told to restrict socialising to just THREE households over the Christmas period to fight Omicron.

Nicola Sturgeon is slapping the country with the toughest measures in months – piling pressure on Boris Johnson to also tighten mixing curbs in England.

Nicola Sturgeon has announced new Covid rules for Scotland Credit: AFP

The First Minister said the advice wouldn’t apply to main celebrations with friends and family on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing day.

In a gloomy address to MSPs she said she was “not asking anyone to cancel Christmas”, but advised people to limit their socialising either side of the holiday.

Ms Sturgeon said: “My key request today is this: before and immediately after Christmas, please minimise your social mixing with other households as much as you can.

“However, if you do plan on socialising, either at home or in indoor public places, we are asking that you limit the number of households represented in your group to a maximum of three. And make sure you test before you go.”

Omicron is spreading like wildfire in the UK including large parts of Scotland.

Laying bare the alarming Covid situation, Ms Sturgeon said she expects it to become the dominant strain in days.

She said: “This matters because Omicron is significantly more transmissible than Delta; the R number associated with Delta is around 1 but the R number for Omicron appears to be well over 2 and possibly above 4.

“Cases in Scotland in total have increased by a quarter in the last week, they have risen in all age groups, except the over 85s. Omicron is already contributing to that increase.

“But as it becomes the dominant strain, its much higher R number will also dominate, and that will drive a much steeper increase in cases.”

Scots have already been warned the Omicron variant crisis could continue into March.

Ms Sturgeon‘s deputy John Swinney told public officials: “This situation is likely to last three months.”

But the First Minister insisted she was not considering shutting schools as part of her Covid clampdown.

She said yesterday: “Children have suffered more than any, and everybody has suffered in this, but children have suffered disproportionately.”

It comes as every adult in the UK is to be offered a Covid booster jab by the end of December as fears grow over a “tidal wave” of Omicron cases.

Ms Sturgeon and Mr Johnson confirmed the third dose roll-out will be immediately accelerated with plans for all over 18s to get it in the next three weeks – a month ahead of the previous deadline.

Scots aged 18-29 will be able to sign up for their booster jab later this week.

We told earlier how furlough could be brought back in response to any new restrictions.

Ministers are being urged to guarantee support for staff and employers in case their businesses have to shut.


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