Omicron has reached Scotland with six cases now discovered. 

The Scottish Government has revealed that the Lanarkshire area has four cases of the Covid-19 variant, with two others to be found in both Greater Glasgow and Clyde.

The newly discovered variant, whilst not yet being known as more deadly, is thought to be very transmissible, meaning that spread could affect more people more quickly. Because there are so many unknowns, a fair degree of fear has come with the latest variant, which is significantly mutated from previous strains of the virus.

What The Scottish Government Has Said

Given that there are so many unknowns, and that the variant is an urgent matter of public concern. 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.’

The announcement about the transmission of Omicron in Scotland has followed the discovery of 3 cases in England, meaning that there is a scramble to prevent the new variant from becoming firmly entrenched in the community.

Do Vaccines Offer Protection?

Vaccines are thought to still have a measure of protection, although much is still unknown.

There are signs that an extra booster shot may be required in order to be fully protected from Omicron but it is not yet fully available.

‘A Mild Disease’

Dr Angelique Coetzee, the doctor who discovered the new variant, has declared that undue fear is exactly that, and that reacting strongly to Omicron may not be necessary. In an interview printed in Metro Newspaper, she said:

‘What we are seeing clinically in south Africa, and remember I’m at the epicentre – that’s where I’m practising – it’s extremely mild. For us, that’s mild cases.’

The authorities in South Africa have also declared that borders should be opened immediately, feeling that they are being punished for ‘discovering’ the new variant.

Whether or not panic is unnecessary at this point, time will reveal all. What is clear is that another lockdown is something that authorities are keen to avoid.

Author: Londonlad

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