A health expert has called for a circuit breaker to be imposed in a bid to halt the rapid spread of the coronavirus Omicron variant in Scotland.
Deepti Gurdasani, an epidemiologist from the Queen Mary University of London, said drastic measures need to be taken by governments over the new strain which was first identified in southern Africa at the end of last month.
Scotland and the rest of the nations across the United Kingdom have ramped up their booster vaccine programmes to deal with the threat Omicron poses.
The spread of the variant, which accounted for 36.5 per cent of all cases yesterday, has seen overall cases jump in Scotland.
Earlier this week First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced new measures to help combat the rise in infections in the lead up to and after Christmas.
The new measures include reducing social mixing and additional guidance for pubs, restaurants, care home and hospitals.
However, Gurdasani believes governments need to go harder to stop the spread.
She said: “I think given the sheer scale of the crisis that actually even more scientists cannot imagine, I will be putting in a circuit breaker now.
“I know I’m going to be unpopular for saying this.
“I don’t think it was inevitable before, but the fact is we’ve gone into an Omicron wave where 50,000 cases a day, no capacity in our healthcare system, and I’m seriously concerned that in the next few weeks, people who need life saving emergency care won’t be able to get it by January.
“We really, really cannot afford to be in that situation.
“I think that’s what we need to do and support the public through where people are going to be impacted financially.”
Over the last 24-hour period in Scotland 265 new cases of Omicron were identified, there are 561 people who have returned a positive test for the new variant.
Gurdasani was asked by host Gary Robertson if a circuit breaker meant people staying at homes and businesses closing.
She replied: “Yes, I know I’m going to be attacked for saying this but I do think the nature of the crisis means that we need something like that now.”
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