This year has been difficult for us all, and, despite what we all hoped, the transmission rates that the First Minister has outlined make it clear that the virus is not about to let up over Christmas. There is no room for complacency. Although the guidance allows for greater contact between households, we should all do our bit to limit its spread by being suitably cautious over the festive period.
This week has seen the encouraging sight of the first Covid vaccines reaching care home residents. We all want delivery of the vaccine to continue smoothly, so that it reaches the most vulnerable people as quickly as possible. There are still some questions, and we hope to see more of the Government’s plans published before Christmas.
The friends and families of vulnerable care home residents will be keen to hear the First Minister answer a specific question. If a resident cannot consent to receiving the vaccine or does not have the capacity to give that consent, what processes are in place to ensure that the vaccine can be delivered without undue delay?
The news of a new strain of the virus is a cause for concern for many people just as we are starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel. The First Minister had a briefing on that development from the chief medical officer yesterday. We are just learning about the new strain, and we appreciate that researchers may not yet have all the necessary details, but will the First Minister go beyond her statement to update Parliament on the work that is being done to assess its virulence, its likely transmission rate and any new features of its symptoms and severity?