The four nations of the UK need to work together “collectively and effectively” to tackle the threat posed by the new Omicron variant, Boris Johnson has been told.
The first ministers of Scotland and Wales, Nicola Sturgeon and Mark Drakeford, joined forces to demand the Prime Minister convene an urgent Cobra meeting to discuss taking a four-nations approach to issues such as border restrictions.
While the Scottish Government has followed the new travel restrictions put in place by Westminster, requiring passengers coming into the UK to do a PCR test two days after arrival, Ms Sturgeon has already warned that tougher measures may be necessary in the wake of this new threat.
It comes after six cases of the Omicron variant of coronavirus have been identified in Scotland.
Ms Sturgeon and Mr Drakeford are now calling for people coming into the UK from overseas to be required to self isolate for eight days – and then do a second PCR test.
The Scottish and Welsh first ministers told Mr Johnson: “Public health advice is unequivocal that this is the best and safest way to protect against the importation of this variant to the fullest extent possible.”
They added: “While our public health systems work hard to minimise the spread of cases already in the UK, it is imperative that we do all we can to avoid under-cutting these efforts by permitting on-going importation.”
In addition to discussion on travel restrictions, Ms Sturgeon and Mr Drakeford also want the UK Government to commit to providing the necessary funding to support businesses if “more interventionist measures are required”.
They told the Prime Minister it would be “better to consider this now, in advance of a potential escalation in the seriousness of the situation”.
They added: “In particular, it is important for us to agree that if the conditions in a devolved nation were to require more significant interventions than in England, the agreed package of financial support would be available to that nation.
“We do not want to be in a position again where our public health interventions are negatively impacted by a lack of financial support, but can be switched on as required for England.”