Today the First Minister delivered a virtual statement to Parliament. She confirmed no new protective measures were being proposed and that it is expected that restrictions on large gatherings, the requirement for distancing between groups of people in public indoor places and for table service in hospitality venues serving alcohol will remain in force until 17 January.
The First Minister also outlined changes to self-isolation requirements. Until now anyone who tested positive, regardless of vaccination status, had to still self-isolate for 10 days. However, from tomorrow, 6 January, new cases will be advised they can end self-isolation if they don’t have a fever and test negative on a Lateral Flow Device on Day 6 and again at least 24 hours later.
In addition, triple vaccinated close contacts of those who test positive, both household and non-household, or those under the age of 18 and four months, do not need to isolate as long as they return a negative LFD test result each day for seven consecutive days, and remain fever free.
Changes are also being made to testing. After a positive LFD, people will no longer be asked to take a PCR test to confirm the result. Instead, anyone with a positive LFD should report the result online as soon as the test is done. This ensures that people can get the advice they need as quickly as possible. After reporting their result, people should then fill in the online form they will receive, so contacts can also be informed and rapidly given the correct advice.
In addition the First Minister confirmed the allocation of a further £55 million in business support - of which £19 million will support close contact services such as beauticians and hairdressers.
The First Minister said local authorities are currently working to get money into bank accounts as quickly as possible. We will provide further updates as and when we receive them.