THE UK has now got nine confirmed cases of the mutant variant Omicron – as Scotland reports six new infections this morning.
It comes as officials are desperately scrambling to stop the spread of the worrying new variant.
Omicron has hit the UK with ministers bringing back some Covid restrictions to stop the spreadCredit: Reuters
It has reached UK shores less than a week after being reported as a concern in African countries.
Three cases of the new Omicron variant had already been identified in England – although officials fear that means hundreds could already be infected.
However, there are more than 150 further infections in the UK already, Government sources have claimed.
The Scottish Government said that four of the Covid-19 Omicron variant cases identified in Scotland are in the Lanarkshire area, with two in the Greater Glasgow and Clyde area.
Public Health Scotland and local health protection teams are working together and contact tracing is being undertaken to establish the origin of the virus and any individuals they have come into contact with.
Scotland’s Health Secretary Humza Yousaf said: “This will be a worrying time for the six people now identified as having the new variant. All will receive expert help and support and Public Health Scotland will undertake enhanced contact tracing in all cases.
“This will help establish the origin of the virus and any further individuals they have come into contact with in recent weeks.
“There is still much to learn about the Omicron variant. Questions remain about its severity, transmissibility and response to treatments or vaccines and scientists are working at pace to provide additional information.
“Until more is known we must be cautious and do everything we can to minimise the risk of spreading infection.”
Ministers and scientists are hurriedly working to know just how contagious and dangerous Omicron is.
Last night there were extensive contact tracing efforts in Westminster after it emerged the latest confirmed case had visited before leaving the UK.
Mr Javid has so far dismissed calls for a further lockdown as infections and hospitalisations are “nowhere near” the level required.
He yesterday said people “should continue with their plans for normal as Christmas” – but warned it would be “irresponsible” for him to guarantee there’ll be no further restrictions in the future.
Boris Johnson introduced a range of measures to slow the spread on Saturday.
Brits must now wear masks in shops and on public transport, while anyone who comes into contact with a person who tests positive for Omicron is to isolate for 10 days.
Travellers arriving in the UK from anywhere in the world must take a PCR test by the end of their second day in the country and self-isolate until they receive a negative result.
Elsewhere, a minister has today admitted the UK “can’t stop” the spread of Omicron.
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