One in 11 people in Scotland are estimated to have had Covid last week – the highest rate in UK.
According to figures from the Office for National Statistics, Scotland has seen infection levels rise for eight weeks in a row and has reached the highest number of cases since the start of the pandemic.
A total of 473,800 people were estimated to have had Covid-19 last week, or one in 11.
This number is up from 376,300 people, or one in 14, the previous week.
Scotland is said to have the highest infection rate in the UK with England and Wales estimating one in 16 people have the virus and Northern Ireland estimating one in 14.
The number of patients in Scotland’s hospitals with recently confirmed coronavirus has also reached a record high for the fifth day in a row.
Statistics showed that 2326 people were in hospital on Thursday – up by four from the previous day.
That includes 28 in intensive care – with this up by two over the last 24 hours.
A further 42 deaths were reported, as well as another 10,100 positive new cases of the virus.
The number of Scots who have died within 28 days of testing positive has now risen to 11,287.
Meanwhile a total of 4,341,965 people have received their first dose of coronavirus vaccine, with 4,089,894 having had two doses while 3,446,630 have received a third dose or booster jab.
The latest figures come after Humza Yousaf came under fire from opposition politicians at Holyrood after he told MSPs that the rise in Covid patient numbers could continue “over the next couple or few weeks”.
The dominance of the highly transmissible Omicron BA2 subvariant is the reason for the rising number of infections and hospital numbers and the “unprecedent pressure” this brings, Yousaf said.
He said the number of Covid patients in Scotland had more than doubled since February.
Speaking about the rising patient levels, the health secretary said: “Using the latest published Covid-19 modelling, we anticipate this may well continue to increase over the next couple or few weeks.”
He told MSPs: “The increase in cases and hospitalisation is largely due to the dominance of the more transmissible Omicron BA2 variant, which accounts for about 90% of all reported cases.”