HUMZA Yousaf has stressed he won’t be banning people’s grannies from Christmas this year amid concerns about the Omicron variant.

The Health Secretary said he was not going to tell people not to invite their relatives for Christmas dinner, but urged them to ask people to take lateral flow tests before arrival.

It comes amid warnings from scientists that festive events may have to be cancelled due to the emergence to the highly infectious variant.

There are now 48 confirmed Omicron cases in Scotland, with experts saying the new strain seems to be even more transmissible than Delta.

Yousaf told BBC Scotland’s The Sunday Show: “You don’t have to cancel your [Christmas] plans but definitely make them safer. That’s what I’m going to do.

“Me and my constituency office are going to go to a restaurant for lunch but have all agreed that we will be doing lateral flow tests before then on the day.

“The same for Christmas dinner with my family. We’ll have my mother-in-law and some other relatives over and they’ll all be doing lateral flow devices."

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He added: “I’ll not be taking their Covid certification at the door but we’ll just be doing what we can to make our plans a bit safer.

“We’re asking people to exercise their judgment and make their Christmas plans as safe as they possibly can.”

Questioned if people should limit the numbers they invite at Christmas, the Health Secretary said they should take precautions but that he would not stipulate who people could have over for Christmas dinner.

“I’m not going to say to people that you shouldn’t invite their cousin, that you shouldn’t invite their granny to Christmas dinner,” he continued.

“What I’m saying is take the precautions that we’re asking you to.”

Yousaf explained that people meeting indoors should try to ensure adequate ventilation and ask people to do lateral flow tests before arrival.

He added: “Adjust your plans to make them safer but I’m not going to sit here and tell you not to invite your granny to Christmas dinner.”

Earlier in the show, professor Clare Bryant warned the spread of the Omicron variant was “very concerning”.

“The thing we know most about it at the moment from the South African data is its high ability to infect. It seems to be much more infectable than the Delta variant – it means we are likely to have a lot of cases very quickly if we’re not careful.”

Asked about the prospect of friends and colleagues meeting up for parties over the festive period, she added: “Christmas parties might be something that don’t happen this year.”