Two years on from the first Covid lockdown, a special ceremony will be held at Holyrood to “reflect and remember” those who have died during the pandemic.
Scottish Parliament presiding officer Alison Johnstone will be joined by political leaders to mark the occasion – which comes as rising coronavirus infections have resulted in a record number of people needing hospital care.
Figures published on Tuesday showed there were 2221 people in hospitals across Scotland with recently confirmed Covid-19 – with this the highest total since the virus hit.
Wednesday’s event in Holyrood is part of a series of events taking part across the UK as part of a national day of reflection, which will see a minute’s silence take place at noon.
And Johnstone said the way communities had pulled together during the crisis had provided “hope for the future as we look towards our recovery”.
The presiding officer said: “So many people have been affected by the events of the past two years. It’s important that as a Parliament we can reflect and remember those who have died, those grieving and those whose lives continue to be impacted.
“As parliamentarians, we have heard directly from our own constituents the devasting ways that the pandemic has changed their lives, but we have also seen our communities come together for the benefit of others.
“This gives hope for the future as we look towards our recovery.”
The Scottish Parliament is just one of more than 350 organisations that are taking part in what is the second national day of reflection, with emergency services, schools, charities, businesses, community groups, faith leaders and bereaved families across the country all due to mark the day.
The charity Marie Curie, which is leading the commemorations, said it would give people across Britain the “opportunity to connect, remember those who have died and support the millions of people who are grieving”.
Marie Curie chief nurse Julie Pearce said: “While life is beginning to return to normal for some people, several million people are still living with the trauma of loss, and not being able to grieve properly.
“Let’s take time to connect, and show support for the millions of people who are grieving, and remember the family, friends, neighbours and colleagues we’ve lost over the last two years.”
She added: “Whilst observing the minute’s silence at midday, I will be thinking of all the nurses and health care professionals across Marie Curie and the NHS.”