NICOLA Sturgeon is due to present a Covid update to MSPs as parliament returns this week.

For the last two Wednesdays, the First Minister has updated members on the pandemic situation in Scotland as Omicron cases surged, with Holyrood recalled to allow her to do so during recess.

Now MSPs are returning to work, and the First Minister’s updates are set to go back to Tuesdays as has been the case throughout much of the crisis.

On Sunday, 7561 Covid cases were recorded in Scotland – this was a big drop in confirmed case numbers from the 10,000+ of the previous days, but still represented 23.2% of all tests carried out, in line with recent test positivity rates.

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Public Health Scotland warned that there were continuing delays in tests being received and results being reported – indicating these issues are caused by the large volume of tests currently being processed in labs.

In an effort to ease the record pressure on the testing system, last week it was announced that people who do not have Covid symptoms, but test positive on a lateral flow device, do not need to get that result confirmed by PCR.

Sturgeon will speak to MSPs on Tuesday as the large numbers of tests continue to cause challenges.

The National:

The First Minister is expected to give an update on the current Covid restrictions during her statement.

They were officially put in place until January 17, and she has indicated she is “hopeful” that some of the rules can be lifted then.

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The Scottish Government took the decision a fortnight ago to limit attendances at outdoor events to 500, and 100 standing or 200 seated for indoor events. Nightclubs were closed, and hospitality venues were told to provide table-service only.

Speaking last week, the FM was optimistic about removing restrictions on sporting events.

“I hope very much we won’t have to go beyond January 17 with these restrictions. All of us, including myself, want to be able to cheer Scotland on at Murrayfield in the Six Nations,” she said.

“But I don’t do anybody any good if I try to give certainty ahead of our ability to do that. We will continue to use the data and the evidence and reach the judgments to get that clarity as soon as possible.

“I certainly do very firmly hope that these matches will go ahead, and will go ahead to crowds of supporters.”

Sturgeon’s update is expected on Tuesday at approximately 2pm in the Scottish Parliament. It is currently not known if the session will be virtual or in-person, but official advice is currently to work from home.

The National will be live blogging the statement, and livestreaming it on our Facebook and YouTube pages.