‘We must act quickly and decisively in the national interest’ – what Nicola Sturgeon said about the rapid increase in Covid cases

Nicola Sturgeon has said Scotland faces a race between the new faster spreading strain of Covid-19 and the vaccination programme, warning that quick and decisive action may be required to stop the spread.

By Gary Flockhart
Sunday, 3rd January 2021, 12:56 pm

The Scottish Government is to reconvene on Monday after concerns were raised by how rapidly the new strain is spreading.

The First Minister confirmed she would be recalling Parliament on Monday afternoon, to discuss further measures due to “a rapid increase in Covid cases” causing “very serious concerns”.

The Cabinet is expected to be recalled on Monday morning to discuss any additional measures that may be required to stop the spread of coronavirus.

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In a series of tweets, Ms Sturgeon said: “The rapid increase in Covid cases, driven by the new variant, is of very serious concern.

“The steep increases and severe NHS pressure being experienced in other parts of the UK is a sign of what may lie ahead. So we must take all steps to slow spread while vaccination progresses.

“We, like other countries, are in a race between this faster spreading strain of Covid and the vaccination programme.

“As we work to vaccinate as quickly as possible, we must also do more to slow down the virus – to save lives and help the NHS care for all those who need it.

The Scottish Government is to discuss further measures as Covid-19 cases rise.

“Following a meeting of the Scottish government resilience committee yesterday to assess latest situation, the Cabinet will meet tomorrow am to consider further action to limit spread and I’ve asked for Scottish Parliament to be recalled tomorrow afternoon so that I can set out our decisions in a statement.

“All decisions just now are tough, with tough impacts. Vaccines give us way out, but this new strain makes the period between now and then the most dangerous since start of pandemic.

“So the responsibility of government must be to act quickly and decisively in the national interest.”

The First Minister added: “For now, please continue to take Covid seriously – it is a real threat to life and health and, if it runs out of control, it damages the economy more too.

“Please stay at home as much as possible and avoid non essential interactions with other households. Thank you.”

A Scottish Government spokesman said: “The recent, rapid increase in Covid cases in Scotland, driven by the new variant of the virus, is a very serious concern.

“The even steeper rises and severe pressure on the NHS that is being experienced in some other parts of the UK is a sign of what may lie ahead in Scotland if we do not take all possible steps now to slow the spread of the virus, while the vaccination programme progresses.

“The First Minister has therefore asked that Parliament be recalled from recess on Monday afternoon to allow her to make an urgent statement on further measures to suppress transmission.

“This will come after a meeting of the Cabinet on Monday morning. The Education Recovery Group will also meet on Monday.

“The strong message remains people should stay at home as much as possible and avoid non-essential interaction with others.”

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