COVID-19: Nine known Omicron cases in the UK as six infections detected in Scotland

Six cases of the Omicron coronavirus variant have been found in Scotland, authorities have confirmed.

They are in addition to the three already detected in England.

Four cases are in the Lanarkshire area and two have been identified in the Greater Glasgow and Clyde area.

It is still not known whether the cases are linked to international travel or were internally transmitted.

The three cases in England were all connected to travel in southern Africa.

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.”

She said there is “still much to learn” about the Omicron variant, with questions remaining about its severity, transmissibility and response to treatments or vaccines.

Ms Yousaf said 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,” she said.

She said the Scottish government has already taken steps to tackle the Omicron variant by adopting the UK government's new border restrictions which will require fully vaccinated arrivals to take a PCR test within two days of arrival and self-isolate until a negative result is received.

She said these measures will be introduced as soon as possible and kept under constant review.

“We reserve the right to go further if necessary,” she added.

Scotland is also adopting the expanded red list of countries identified by the UK government, which includes ten African countries: South Africa, Namibia, Lesotho, Botswana, Eswatini, Zimbabwe, Angola, Mozambique, Malawi and Zambia.

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