Council Leader Adam McVey and Depute Leader Cammy Day urge everyone in Edinburgh to continue to follow Covid measures as new guidance was announced by the government today.

The appeal follows an update from the First Minister, which included advice to limit social interactions and for businesses to reintroduce physical distancing.

People were also urged to book vaccinations, including boosters, where eligible. The public was reminded to test regularly and to follow existing guidance around hand washing, mask wearing and ventilation. In the coming days The Scottish Government will issue additional guidance for businesses, which the council will be closely assessing to provide support and advice.

Council Leader Adam McVey said: The advice issued by the First Minister today will have made for difficult listening for many, particularly as we approach the festive season, but we know that it’s the right thing to do – particularly as transmission numbers increase across our communities. It’s clear that the Omicron variant of Covid is spreading rapidly, and we simply can’t hang around to see what impact this will have on services, the NHS and, of course, our own health.

“Over the coming days we’ll be carefully reviewing the public health guidance shared by the Scottish Government to assess what measures we need to take, both in our own buildings, schools and events being held in the city. We’ll also be considering the support we provide to businesses – since the beginning of the pandemic we’ve administered over 19,000 payments totalling over £250m to businesses – and we’re gearing up to help the Scottish Government to distribute £100m of national funding to those most affected by these most recent changes.We’ve come a long way since March 2020, and, collectively, have made many sacrifices to help limit the spread of this virus to protect ourselves and families and the NHS. I know it’s hard, but it’s essential that we now redouble our efforts to follow the latest guidance, and the advice already in place. By doing things like wearing masks, washing hands, ventilating rooms and limiting social interactions – as well as regular testing and getting vaccinated when eligible – we can protect one another and avoid being overwhelmed by this virus.

Depute Leader Cammy Day said: “The introduction of further protections in the lead-up to Christmas is not what we had hoped for but we know it’s for all the right reasons. This virus is spreading exponentially and we still don’t know how badly it can affect us. There’s a lot we can do though, first and foremost getting our booster jags – I would urge everyone who’s eligible to book theirs as soon as possible.I know many people will be hoping to enjoy Christmas with their friends and families but it’s crucial that we take extra precautions to do so. By limiting social interactions, practising good hygiene and self-isolating where required, amongst all the other measures in place, we can hopefully enjoy a safe holiday together.”

Community test centres and mobile test centres are open for people with no Covid symptoms. Full details of these, and how to order home lateral flow testing kits, are available online.

Find out more about Council services during the pandemic on the Council website.