Omicron cases double after backlog with warning worst is yet to come

It comes as soldiers are deployed to support the NHS.

The number of cases in Scotland of the new Omicron variant of Covid-19 has more than doubled amid warnings the worst is yet to come.

As of 5pm on Thursday, 3832 confirmed cases were reported, taking the total number of cases of the new variant to 6154.

According to the figures, the increase was caused by a backlog of genotyping results being received by Public Health Scotland that were undertaken in mid-December.

It comes as front line workers brace for the aftermath of festive gatherings with Omicron now the dominant strain in Scotland.

“I am more worried about January than I am worried about the last week of December,” BMA Scottish GP committee chair Dr Andrew Buist told STV News.

“I think that the inevitable contacts that happen with family over the Christmas period is likely to increase the number of Covid cases.

“I am slightly anxious about what January is going to bring to the practice.”

It follows requests for military assistance at three Scottish health boards to help manage growing pressures caused by the Omicron variant being approved.

Service personnel will provide support to NHS Ayrshire, NHS Grampian and NHS Lanarkshire.

Christmas celebrations can take place but people have been asked to limit socialising to three households before festivities and take a lateral flow test ahead of mixing with others.

Then new restrictions will be in place from Boxing day.

On Friday, national clinical director Jason Leitch said: “The Omicron variant is coming, but behaviour and vaccines are keeping it at bay a little.

“But tomorrow is crucial for that, because if we suddenly throw caution to the wind, then it will find a way to infect individuals who gather.

“Try and (meet) carefully, test before you meet other people and get yourself vaccinated.”

Early national data suggests Omicron is two-thirds less likely to result in hospital treatment compared with early coronavirus variants.

Experts from Edinburgh and Strathclyde Universities also found that a booster or third dose of the vaccine offers substantial protection against developing symptoms of the now dominant strain of Covid-19.

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