Another 68 people with coronavirus have died in Scotland as the country recorded more than 2600 new cases.
It is the highest daily increase on record, while 1174 people confirmed to have the virus were receiving treatment in hospital.
The latest figures, which saw the return of 2622 positive test results, were published by the Scottish Government on Thursday.
The jump comes a day after the First Minister said a new strain of coronavirus was “fast becoming” the dominant one in the country.
Nicola Sturgeon told the Scottish Parliament on Wednesday “the severity of this challenge” means she cannot rule out the need for tighter restrictions than those currently in place in level four areas.
She was reflecting on Public Health Scotland analysis, which showed that on Tuesday, 42.8% of positive tests processed for Scotland in the Lighthouse labs had the S gene drop out that is indicative of the new strain.
Commenting on the latest coronavirus figures, Sturgeon tweeted on Thursday: “We have another sharp rise in cases today, which will add to NHS pressure in coming days.
“As predicted, the new strain seems to be speeding up transmission. Please stay at home as much as possible – including for the bells tonight – and avoid non-essential interaction with others.”