Nicola Sturgeon confirms that nine cases of the new variant of coronavirus have been identified in Scotland
The First Minister told Parliament in her address this afternoon that all nine cases of the new covid strain have been identified in the Greater Glasgow and Clyde Health Board area.
In her speech the First Minister said: “It is important to stress there is no evidence at this stage to suggest that this new variant is likely to cause more serious illness in people.
“And while the initial analysis of it suggests that it may be more transmissible, with a faster growth rate than existing variants, that is not yet certain.
"It may instead be the case that it has been identified in areas where the virus is already spreading more rapidly.”
Ms Sturgeon continued to say that further analysis of the new strain of the virus is being conducted through Public Health England to better understand it.
She added: “In the meantime, we are considering whether any additional precautions are necessary in light of what we know so far - including whether there should be any change over the Christmas period because of this or the wider context - and I will discuss all of this with the other UK governments in a four nations call later this afternoon.
"I will, of course, keep Parliament updated.”
The First Minister also announced the updates to the coronavirus restriction levels across the country, stating that no areas would be moved up to level four at this time.
She confirmed that all 18 of the local authorities which are currently at level three will remain there, but added that three local authorities currently in level two will move to level three from Friday.