First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has warned that the UK may be at the start of a third wave of Covid, as parts of Scotland prepare to move into less-restrictive coronavirus measures.
Ms Sturgeon gave a briefing on Friday when she reported there were 992 positive case recorded in Scotland – 144 of which were in Tayside.
There are 116 people in hospital, eight of which are in intensive care, and two people have died in the past 24 hours, the first minister said.
Highest new cases since February
The figure is the highest number of new daily cases since February 17.
A number of local authorities across Scotland – including Angus, Perth and Kinross and Fife – move down from Level 2 of Covid restrictions to Level 1 from Saturday.
From one minute past midnight, people in those areas will be able to meet in groups of six from three households in private homes, groups of eight from three households in indoor public places, groups of twelve from twelve households outside.
Dundee remains in Level 2
Glasgow, currently in Level 3, will also move to Level 2, and Orkney, Shetland and the Western Isles will shift to Level 0.
Ms Sturgeon said that while she recognised it was “frustrating” for the country not to be able to “move back as quickly as we wanted to normality” she felt it was “the right, cautious decision” to make.
Every health board in Scotland affected
At least one new case has been recorded in every health board in Scotland.
The first minister said: “As you can see from today’s figures, we are at a very critical juncture today, in what we still very much and believe is a transition to a less-restrictive way of dealing with Covid.
“But, the position we are in just now in that transition is a fragile one.
“On the downside, as we can see, cases are rising again, they have more than tripled over the last month.
‘The start of a third wave of Covid’
“The R-number is now estimated to be above one; indeed, many experts believe that not just Scotland but the UK is at the start of a third wave of Covid.”
Ms Sturgeon said the Delta variant, which makes up a majority of the new cases in Scotland, is thought to be “quite significantly more transmissable” than previous variants of the virus, and “early data” suggests it has a higher risk of hospitalisation – but that is still under investigation.
The country must “exercise continued care” while the majority of the population waits to be double vaccinated, Ms Sturgeon said.
As of this morning, 3,326,005 people have had their first dose of the vaccine and 2,170,570 have had the second dose.
‘This virus isn’t done with us yet’
Discussing the changing Levels, she said: “For parts of the country staying in Level 2, I know feels like a setback, even though it is a pause in our easing of restrictions, but the situation we face now does demand caution.”
For people moving into Level 1, there is “still a need to exercise great care” as many people still have not been vaccinated.
“This virus isn’t done with us yet,” she said.
Portugal now on Amber List of destinations
Ms Sturgeon also relayed the news that anyone travelling back from Portugal must now self-isolate for 10 days and take two PCR tests.
It comes after the country moved from the Green List to the Amber List of travel destinations.
The change in Levels also means a change in visiting rules for visitors seeing patients in the care of NHS Tayside.