Tonight, Boris Johnson turned down Nicola Sturgeon’s request for direct negotiations. She accused him of’sleepingwalking into an Omicron crisis.

Downing Street denied that plans were in place to make contact with the SNP leader. This despite her urgent request.   

This was after Ms Sturgeon had demanded that the UK Government provide additional cash for the harsh guidance she gave earlier in the week on socialising during Christmas.

Holyrood heard her hint at the return of grants to businesses and furloughs, telling Holyrood the funding scale should remain the same as it was during the earlier pandemic.

Johnson denied claims that his imposing “lockdown by stealth” in England. He has been accused of stifling bars and restaurants that complain that they have lost customers after being warned at the Downing Street press conference. 

While a support package is in place, he stressed that the main goal of government is to keep establishments open.  

As they seek more financial support, hospitality firms are in talks with Rishi Sunak.  

Ms Sturgeon spoke to MSPs and said that she wrote to Mr Johnson asking him to implement the support programs.

She stated that she is ‘profoundly worried by the magnitude and immediacy the challenges’ the new virus strain poses to her.

Boris Johnson

Nicola Sturgeon

Despite Nicola Sturgeon’s urgent request to talk to Boris Johnson, Downing Street stated that there is no plan for him to call Nicola Sturgeon.

If the number of people testing positive doubles every three days, then there would be 463,704 daily cases on Christmas Eve. That would force the 1.9million people testing positive between now and then into isolation for 10 days, the equivalent of 3 per cent of the population

If there were 463 704 people who test positive every day, that would mean that Christmas Eve will see 463 704. The equivalent of 3% per cent, that would mean the remaining 1.9million positive people between now and Christmas Eve will be forced into isolation for 10 consecutive days. 

Omicron is likely to be the dominant strain of coronavirus in Scotland from tomorrow, she said – with 5,951 new coronavirus cases reported on Wednesday, of which almost half were likely to be the new variant.

The First Minister gave guidance to people earlier this week to limit their social interaction. He asked that any holiday get-togethers be limited to three households.

Today she said that she was “acutely aware and deeply concerned” about the potential impact on businesses.

She said that they needed to re-assess the financial assistance provided earlier during the pandemic.

Holyrood heard from Ms Sturgeon: “There simply aren’t any mechanisms to enable the devolved governments to activate the finance required to support such schemes.”

“We require the UK Government urgently to take action in the same manner as other countries.”

She stated that the matter requires the urgent engagement of Mr Sunak and the PM.

She stated, “We cannot sleepwalk into an emergency for business and health that will prove to be more severe if we don’t act now.”

“I wrote to the Prime Minister today asking for the establishment of the appropriate support systems. This is why I have asked him to contact me directly today.

Ms. Sturgeon explained that Omicron in Scotland doubles approximately every 2 to 3 days. In some areas of the UK, the time it takes to double is less than two days. This puts lives at risk again, the NHS is at threat, as well as livelihoods.

The virus was “raging” and she attacked Mr Sunak, blaming him for traveling to California on business.

Ms Sturgeon stated that businesses desire financial support to stop them from going to the Wall.

Asked whether Mr Johnson would talk to Ms Sturgeon, a spokesman for the PM said: ‘I think you are aware that yesterday there was a Cobra meeting that involved the devolved administrations that was led by Michael Gove.

‘That meeting was in place to discuss our ongoing commitment to work together to tackle Covid-19 and an agreement to stay in close touch in the lead up to Christmas.’

Pushed on the prospects of a meeting, the spokesman said: ‘I haven’t got any calls or meetings to update you on but as I say we continue to regularly speak to devolved administrations and we will continue to work with them as we have done throughout the pandemic.’

The spokesman went on: ‘We understand this is a concerning time for hospitality sector and we are closely monitoring the impact of the virus on the economy.

‘You are aware that there is already significant support in place until spring next year, including business rates relief and VAT reduction for hospitality businesses in England.

‘And as we said this morning the Chancellor and the Chief Secretary to the Treasury have been speaking to businesses in the hospitality sector this afternoon.

LONDON -- Westminster Bridge looks very quiet during the morning rush hour in London today as Britons stay at home

LONDON — The Westminster Bridge is very peaceful during London’s morning rush hour today, as Britons remain at home

Such huge numbers could partially paralyse the country, causing 'huge disruption from people being off work' and threatening key services including the NHS and police, experts claimed. Graph shows: The number of NHS staff off work with Covid every day over the last two weeks. Dips on December 5 and 12 occurred on Sundays, when fewer staff are working and therefore less absences are expected. Figures are expected to increase in the coming weeks

Experts claim that large numbers of people could cause paralysis in the country. This would lead to ‘huge disruption by people not working’, and may threaten important services such as the NHS and the police. Figure 1: Covid data shows how many NHS workers have missed work over the past week. On Sundays (December 5th and December 12), dips occurred when less staff were working so there is less chance of absences. The numbers are expected to grow in the weeks ahead

‘But again, you are aware of the support that is already in place.’

While the Scottish Government is providing £100million to help businesses in sectors such as hospitality, which are now struggling because of the new advice, the First Minister conceded this was ‘not enough’.

This is why we need to have the Chancellor, and Prime Minister do their jobs.

Ms Sturgeon told MSPs that Omicron was the most prevalent strain currently circulating in Scotland.

Elle added, “because it has a much higher transmissibility this will drive an even faster increase in cases.”

She said that Omicron spreads at a remarkable rate, faster than any pandemic.

“I am deeply disturbed by its scale and urgency.

Ms Sturgeon said: “We need to understand that Omicron currently runs faster than any vaccine rollout.”