NICOLA Sturgeon has demanded the UK Government introduces tighter restrictions on international arrivals after six cases of the worrying Omicron mutation were identified in Scotland.

The First Minister, along with her Welsh counterpart, Mark Drakeford, have written to Boris Johnson – urging the Prime Minister to roll out tougher rules for those entering the UK from overseas.

The devolved leaders have called for arrivals to the UK have to self-isolate for eight days, with tests on day two and day eight – which Ms Sturgeon insisted “would be sensible on a precautionary basis”.

Currently, passengers arriving in the UK from 4am on Tuesday will be required to take a PCR test by the end of their second day from entry and isolate until they receive a negative test, while 10 southern African nations have been added to the red travel list.

Ms Sturgeon also said she and Mr Drakeford had asked Boris Johnson to hold an urgent Cobra meeting with representatives from the four UK nations and to guarantee the Treasury will fully fund any business support required.

The letter states: “The emergence of Omicron poses a potential threat to the UK.

READ MORE: Omicron Scotland: Sturgeon warns of 'challenging' development

“It is clear that the strain is already here and that it appears highly transmissible.

“We need to work collectively – and effectively – as four nations to take all reasonable steps to control the ingress of the virus to the country and then to limit its spread.

“We are clear that a four nations approach to issues such as border restrictions is the most effective approach. This requires that a meeting of the Cobra committee be held as soon as possible.”

Speaking at a coronavirus media briefing, Ms Sturgeon insisted it was “really important to do what we can to prevent new seeding of the variant from elsewhere”.

She added: “We know, however, that the incubation period for this virus is very often very more than two days. Our view is that it would be sensible on a precautionary basis, for these travel rules to be tightened further.

“We’re proposing a tougher four-nation as approach to travel restrictions at this stage that would wee people arriving in the UK form overseas asked to self-isolate for eight days.

“Under our proposal, they would take a PCR test on day eight of their arrival, as well as on day two.

“We believe this measure would be more affective in identifying cases of this variant which result from overseas travel and therefore help us identify any community transmission from imported cases.”

Ms Sturgeon admitted that “anything less than a four nations approach to requirements like this will be ineffective”, following overseas travellers entering Scotland from England in earlier stages of the pandemic, adding that “we hope that a four nations agreement can be reached”.

The First Minister said her and Mr Drakeford have “also called on the Prime Minister today to immediately convene a COBRA meeting with representation from each nation”, which she hoped would “discuss what additional steps we might have to consider and how we work together to tackle this new risk”.

Ms Sturgeon pointed to business support potentially being needed if “further protections become necessary”. She warned that “we all hope this will not be necessary”, but stressed that “it is prudent to plan ahead”.

She added: “We have also sought confirmation that should any further protections be necessary, Treasury funding will be available to any of the four nations that require to activate business support schemes.”