Nicola Sturgeon has said “we must not underestimate” the impact of Omicron, as she warned case numbers are expected to rise in the coming days.
The First Minister issued the warning as she urged people to continue to comply with health guidance over the New Year period.
It comes after the highest daily totals in Scotland since the start of the pandemic were recorded over the Christmas weekend.
Official statistics indicate there were 8252 cases on December 25, 11,030 cases on December 26, 10,562 on December 27, and 9360 cases on December 28.
Restrictions were re-introduced from Boxing Day in response to concern over the rising number of Omicron cases across Scotland.
Sturgeon has urged people to get their Covid booster vaccination as the programme is accelerated.
“While these figures remain provisional, the significantly increased transmissibility of Omicron is reflected in the steep increase in cases now materialising, and we would expect to see case numbers rise further in the days to come,” said the First Minister.
“I am grateful for the continued efforts of the public in complying with the guidance issued in the run up to Christmas. Without this, it is likely that the figures would have been even higher.
“These figures serve to underline the importance of people continuing to get ‘boosted by the Bells’ and following the guidance to help slow the spread of Covid while we complete the accelerated booster programme.”
The First Minister also reiterated her request for people to limit their contacts as much as possible.
She continued: “I know it is hard, but it is really important people continue to comply with the guidance over the New Year period.
“We must not underestimate the impact of Omicron. Even if the rate of hospitalisation associated with it is lower than past strains of the virus, case numbers this high will still put an inevitable further strain on the NHS, and create significant levels of disruption due to sickness absence across the economy and critical services.
“In addition to observing good hand hygiene and wearing face coverings, please limit your contacts as much as possible, keep any essential indoor gatherings to a maximum of three households, and get boosted by the Bells.”
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