Severin Carrell, Scotland editor

Nicola Sturgeon, Scotland’s first minister, has predicted that Omicron case numbers will continue to rise in Scotland as she prepared to address Holyrood about further possible restrictions on Wednesday.

The latest provisional data showed 9,360 new cases were recorded in Scotland on Tuesday, following a record daily high of 11,030 recorded on Boxing Day, with 10,562 cases detected on Monday. Confirmed daily case numbers for the Christmas period are expected to be published on Wednesday.

Jason Leitch, the Scottish government’s national clinical director, told the BBC earlier the present Omicron wave was likely to peak in mid- to late-January across the UK, or possibly early February. He said it may yet become an “enormous wave” dwarfing the current case numbers.

“The modelling suggests that we won’t see the big numbers and that seems terrifying having nine to 10 and 11,000, you won’t see the big numbers for two to three weeks yet,” he said.

Sturgeon urged people to take up the offer of booster vaccinations and to act as cautiously as possible this week, particularly around Hogmanay and New Years day. Many organised Hogmanay events have been cancelled.

She said:


While these figures remain provisional, the significantly increased transmissibility of Omicron is reflected in the steep increase in cases now materialising, and we would expect to see case numbers rise further in the days to come.

[We] must not underestimate the impact of Omicron. Even if the rate of hospitalisation associated with it is lower than past strains of the virus, case numbers this high will still put an inevitable further strain on the NHS, and create significant levels of disruption due to sickness absence across the economy and critical services.








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