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First Ministers call for COBRA meeting regarding Omicron variant

First Ministers call for COBRA meeting regarding Omicron variant

The First Ministers of Scotland and Wales, Nicola Sturgeon and Mark Drakeford have sent a jointly-signed letter to Boris Johnson supporting a "collective" and "effective" approach to dealing with the Omicron variant of COVID-19. 

The letter proposes a return to the day 8 PCR test requirement for people entering the UK, in addition to the day 2 PCR test which is already being put back in place. Under the proposals, people entering the UK would be required to isolate until the result of the second test is received and is negative.

The letter also criticises the government's past reluctance to allocate funds to the devolved nations for use in combatting COVID-19.

"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."

The First Ministers called for a meeting of COBRA, the UK's Civil Contingencies Committee.

COBRA is convened to determine a rapid response to national emergencies. It has been convened multiple times throughout the COVID pandemic, involving cabinet ministers, leaders from the devolved administrations and various experts.

On 28 November, 37,681 cases of COVID-19 were recorded in the UK. In the past week, 674 deaths within 28 days of a positive coronavirus test have been reported. At the time of publication, there have been 9 cases of the Omicron variant confirmed in the UK.

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