‘Keep safe and reduce socialising’, first minister urges people in New Year message

FIRST minister Nicola Sturgeon is asking people to reduce their socialising over the Hogmanay/New Year period as much as they can in a bid to help reduce the spread of the Omicron variant of Covid-19.

Her New Year message comes as Scotland reports almost 12,000 new cases today (Friday), 15 of these in Shetland.

Despite rising numbers locally, Shetland continues to have a significantly lower average infection rate than other NHS board areas in Scotland.

Vaccinations clinics at Gilbertson Park were held until yesterday and will re-open again on Wednesday 5 January 2022.

Interim director of public health Dr Susan Laidlaw confirmed that there were no large outbreaks in Shetland as many of the latest cases were spread within families and across households.

Dr Laidlaw added that 86.5 per cent of the local population over the age of 18 have had their booster jab.

In her message for 2022, Sturgeon acknowledged the progress that has been made in getting the pandemic under control.

“But of course it also makes it all the more cruel that now – so late on in the year – we are facing a new challenge,” she added.

“The Omicron variant is a very significant threat. It means that at the moment, we need above all to keep each other safe.

“We all need to stay at home, far more than we would want to at this time of year. And we have asked that you minimise new year socialising as much as you can.”

Adding a word of optimism for 2022 she expressed the hope that with the continuation of the booster programme Scotland could get back to “greater normality”.

“As we come through this pandemic, there will still, I am sure, be setbacks.

“But as we look back on the challenges we have faced this year, I believe we can also look forward to a much better and brighter new year ahead.

“So as you see in the bells, I want to take the opportunity to wish all of you a good Hogmanay. And to everyone, whether you’re in Scotland or further afield, let me wish all of you, a very happy, healthy and peaceful new year.”

Shetland News