One in 14 people in Scotland are estimated to have had Covid last week as the country hits a record number of cases.
According to figures from the Office for National Statistics, Scotland has seen infection levels rise for seven weeks in a row and has reached the highest number of cases since the start of the pandemic.
A total of 376,300 people were estimated to have had Covid-19 last week, or one in 14.
This number is up from 299,900 people, or one in 18, the previous week.
Another 23 coronavirus-linked deaths have been recorded in Scotland in the past 24 hours.
It means the number of people who have died within 28 days of testing positive for Covid-19 has risen to 11,098.
The Scottish Government data published on Friday also shows 18,124 new cases of Covid-19 have been reported.
There were 2050 people in hospital on Thursday with recently confirmed Covid-19, up 12 on the previous day, with 31 in intensive care – which was no change on Wednesday’s number.
The latest statistics come after Scotland’s health secretary said NHS staff across the country are experiencing their toughest week since the pandemic began.
On Thursday morning in Holyrood, Humza Yousaf said: “Many of the health boards are giving us the consistent message that they feel like this week is probably the toughest week that they faced during the course of the pandemic.
“It looks like it’s shaping up to be, if not the worst week, certainly one of the most challenging.”
The health secretary’s comments come after the First Minister delayed ditching laws for people to wear face coverings on public transport and shops, having previously signalled this would move from being a legal requirement to being guidance, on March 21.
On Tuesday, Nicola Sturgeon told MSPs that with the “current spike” in cases, ministers had agreed it was “prudent” for this measure to remain in place and the legal requirement will be reviewed again in two weeks’ time.