Nicola Sturgeon blames Steps concert for omicron Covid outbreak

Steps singing on stage in 1999 – Nikos/Shutterstock

Nicola Sturgeon has blamed a Steps concert for an outbreak of the omicron Covid variant in Scotland.

The First Minister said the number of cases had surged from 13 to 29, confirming there was now “transmission“>community transmission” of the variant north of the Border.

The total included six cases linked to a Steps concert on Nov 22 at the OVO Hydro in Glasgow, a large concert venue in the city.

No cases have been linked to a second performance by the pop band at the same venue the following night. The group was supported by Sophie Ellis-Bextor.

The Scottish Government said the risk to those attending the Nov 22 concert was low and those who may have come into contact with those who tested positive were being traced.

No one who attended the concert needs to isolate unless asked by Scotland's Test and Protect contact tracing system or if they develop symptoms.

The group take the stage at The O2 Arena on Nov 27 – Joseph Okpako

The first nine cases of the omicron variant in Scotland were traced to the same “single private event” on Nov 20. However, there was no link between the cases and foreign travel, suggesting there was community transmission in Scotland.

Ms Sturgeon said: “The number of Omicron cases now being reported in Scotland is rising, and cases are no longer all linked to a single event, but to several different sources including a Steps concert at the Hydro on Nov 22.

“This confirms our view that there is now community transmission of this variant within Scotland. Given the nature of transmission we would expect to see cases rise – perhaps significantly – in the days ahead.

“However, health protection teams are continuing work through contact tracing, isolation and testing to slow the spread as far as possible while we learn more about the new variant’s impact. Ministers are also keeping the situation under daily review.”

Cases of the new variant have been recorded in Highland, Grampian and Forth Valley health boards for the first time, at three, one and five respectively.

NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde is now home to 11 cases, while NHS Lanarkshire has nine.

A spokesman for the Scottish Event Campus, which includes the Hyrdo, said: “As with any event taking place at the Scottish Event Campus, the most up to date public health guidance relating to Covid-19 was followed on the evening of Nov 22.

“We will continue to work closely with Test and Protect colleagues to provide them with any information they require.”

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