Andrew Castle 7am - 10am
Emergency Cobra meeting called on Covid-19 and Omicron spread
10 December 2021, 12:42 | Updated: 10 December 2021, 14:20
An emergency Cobra meeting is to take place later today where leaders will discuss the spread of the Omicron variant.
The meeting will be chaired by Michael Gove alongside first ministers and deputy first ministers of the devolved administrations.
In his role as minister for intergovernmental relations, Mr Gove will chair the meeting with the first ministers and deputy first ministers to discuss Covid-19 data and co-ordination on the response.
The Prime Minister's official spokesman said: "Cobra will discuss Covid-19 data and ongoing coordination work."
The Cobra meeting will take place after Nicola Sturgeon said Scotland could see a "tsunami of infections" from the new Omicron variant.
"The fact is, we do face a renewed and very severe challenge in the face of of the new Omicron variant," she said at a briefing in Edinburgh.
"To be blunt, because of the much greater and faster transmissibility of this new variant, we may be facing - indeed we may be starting to experience - a potential tsunami of infections."
Scotland recorded 19 coronavirus-linked deaths and 5,018 cases recorded in the past 24 hours.
She said omicron is likely to become the dominant variant of Covid-19 in Scotland in "days, not weeks".
The First Minister told a briefing in Edinburgh: "Omicron right now is rising exponentially, indeed what we are seeing in the data just now is perhaps the fastest exponential growth that we have seen in this pandemic so far."
She added: "If that continues, and we have no reason, at this stage, to believe that it won't, Omicron is going to very quickly overtake Delta as the dominant strain in Scotland.
"Indeed, I think we can now say with some confidence that we expect it to overtake Delta within days, not weeks - we estimate this could be as early as the very beginning of next week."
The UK Health Security Agency announced yesterday that 249 new cases of the Omicron variant had been reported, bringing the UK total to 817.