Nicola Sturgeon has warned Scots that “Covid hasn’t gone away”, as figures indicate the number of people in hospital with the virus is at its highest level in over a year.
According to official statistics, 1636 people were in hospital as of Wednesday with a recently confirmed case of the virus.
A total of 22 people were in intensive case having recently tested positive for Covid-19.
It comes as the country moves further towards normality, with the legal requirement for face coverings set to be dropped from March 21.
The legal requirement for businesses, places of worship and other service providers to have Covid guidance in place is also due to be scrapped from that date.
Last month, the Covid passport scheme, which had applied to venues including sports grounds and nightclubs, was ditched.
Figures published by the Scottish Government also found that there were 14,387 new cases of coronavirus in the country recorded as of Wednesday, with 41 new reported deaths of people who have tested positive.
On Twitter on Friday morning, Scotland’s First Minister reminded people across the country of the risks still posed by the virus.
Sturgeon also urged people to keep taking “sensible precautions”, such as wearing a face covering.
“Life is much more normal again – thankfully – but this is a reminder that Covid hasn’t gone away,” she said.
“Vaccines are protecting most of us from worst impacts of the virus – but many do still end up in hospital.
“Please continue to take sensible precautions, like wearing a mask.”