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Scotland urged not to ‘underestimate’ Omicron as record COVID cases recorded

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.

Scotland’s First Minister has urged the public not to “underestimate the impact” of the Omicron variant of COVID-19 after the nation recorded record daily case figures over the Christmas weekend.

While the national data for December 25-27 is provisional, it indicates that almost 30,000 new cases of the virus have been confirmed across Scotland during the past three days.

According to the Scottish Government, which released the data this Monday evening, the figures for each day covers tests reported in the preceding 24 hour period. However, the lag in reporting means that the majority of these cases will relate to tests done before the Christmas break. With the longer turnaround time for test results at the moment, the actual number of positive COVID-19 cases may be higher.

The figures are:

  • December 25 2021: 8,252 cases
  • December 2021 26: 11,030 cases
  • December 2021 27: 10,562 cases

A breakdown of cases by health board is not expected to be published until Wednesday. This is likely to give a clearer picture of how the virus has impacted Orkney over the festive season.

“While these figures are provisional, the steep increase in cases we have been expecting is now materialising, and this reflects the significantly increased transmissibility of Omicron,” First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said.

“We would expect to see case numbers rise further in the days ahead – though it is worth bearing in mind that they are likely to have been even higher but for the compliance of the public with the guidance issued in the run up to Christmas.

“These figures underline how important it is that we don’t underestimate the impact of Omicron — even if the rate of hospitalisation associated with it is much lower than past strains of the virus, case numbers this high will still put an inevitable further strain on NHS. This level of infection will also cause a significant and severely disruptive level of sickness absence across the economy and critical services.

“So even though we are all thoroughly fed up with the impact of COVID on our lives, it is really important that over the new year period we follow guidance to help slow the spread of the virus while we complete the accelerated booster programmes.

“In addition to observing good hand hygiene and wearing face coverings, I am asking everyone to limit contacts as much as possible, to keep any essential indoor gatherings to a maximum of three households, and to get boosted by the bells.

“I know sticking to all of these measures is really hard — especially at this time of year — but there’s no doubt whatsoever it will help keep us safer.”