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Total UK cases of Omicron rise to nine

An additional six cases of the Omicron variant have now been detected in Scotland, bringing the UK total so far to nine.

As of 26 November 2021, two people in the UK were found to be infected with the new variant. Secretary of State for Health and Social Care Sajid Javid said the cases in Brentwood, Essex, and Nottingham were confirmed by the UK Health Security Agency following genomic sequencing. These cases are connected to travel in South Africa.

As of 29 November 2021, the Scottish Government said that four of the COVID-19 Omicron variant cases identified in Scotland are in the Lanarkshire area, with two in the Greater Glasgow and Clyde area. Public Health Scotland and local health protection teams are currently working together to establish the origin of the virus and are carrying out contact tracing.

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 UK government has responded to the threat of Omicron by adding ten countries to the travel red list, meaning that all arrivals from this country will have to quarantine in a hotel for ten days.

The first case of Omicron was first reported in South Africa to WHO on Wednesday 24 November 2021.