10 December 2021 - Update on COVID-19 restrictions

Dear Colleagues and Students,

Today the First Minister provided an update about the COVID-19 Omicron variant.

In the briefing the FM outlined that, due to the significant increase in the transmissibility of the Omicron variant, we can expect a rapid rise in cases in the days and weeks ahead.

To minimise the spread of the virus, the FM has announced further tightening of national COVID-19 restrictions.

All household contacts of confirmed COVID-19 positive cases should isolate for 10 days, whether or not they are vaccinated. Non-household contacts of anyone testing positive should also isolate but may end this isolation following a negative PCR test, provided they are double-vaccinated.

If you’re identified as a close contact of a person who may have the omicron variant, you will be informed of this by phone, SMS or letter. You will be advised to self-isolate for 10 days irrespective of vaccination status, PCR test result and age. There is more guidance available on NHS Inform.

While we do not propose to introduce a blanket ban on end-of-term events, in line with the FM’s statement, we would ask staff to consider deferring work Christmas parties and get togethers.

For all events, attendees should take a lateral flow test in advance; numbers should be limited to allow social distancing; and masks should be worn.

Over and above these changes, everyone is reminded to follow public health guidance, including continuing to access vaccination, which remains our most effective defence against COVID-19.

We continue to advise staff to work from home if possible, although key learning and teaching, research, operational and support activities can continue.

We are also asking all colleagues and students using our campuses to take a lateral flow test before travelling to work or study. You can access free lateral flow testing kits from pick-up points on our campuses, as well as many pharmacies or you can also order them online.

Please be aware that national guidance may change at short notice over the coming days.  We will issue further advice next week - in the meantime, please stay safe and look after those around you.

First published: 10 December 2021