Nicola Sturgeon has raised concern over Scotland’s coronavirus figures being “worryingly high again” on the first day of 2021.
Friday’s 2,539 new coronavirus cases come after three consecutive days of Scotland having its highest number of new cases since the pandemic began.
The daily Scottish Government figures reported 2,622 new Covid-19 cases on Thursday, with 2,045 infections on Wednesday and 1,895 people testing positive on Tuesday.
Despite all of mainland Scotland being in the highest tier of restrictions – and warnings to stay at home amid the rising number of cases – police still had to deal with Hogmanay revellers at landmarks including Edinburgh Castle.
In response to Friday’s figures, the First Minister tweeted: “Today’s case numbers are worryingly high again. The new variant is accelerating spread.
“PLEASE do not visit other people’s homes just now, even today – if you first foot someone today, or hug/kiss/handshake them HNY, you are putting yourself, others & the NHS at risk.
“The vaccine cavalry is on way, offering real hope for 2021 – but with this new variant, the next few weeks may be the most dangerous we’ve faced since Mar/April.
“We must act together to suppress it, to save lives and protect the NHS. stick with it.”
No further deaths were recorded on Friday as the Scottish Government noted register offices were closed over the public holidays, but 68 fatalities had been reported on Thursday.
That figure brought the death toll in Scotland under this measure – of people who first tested positive for the virus within the previous 28 days – to 4,578.
Seven Covid-19 deaths had also been recorded between Friday December 25 and Tuesday December 29 – a figure delayed again because of public holiday closures – with a further 43 fatalities reported on Wednesday.
As of December 30, there were 1,174 people in hospital confirmed to have the virus, with 70 in intensive care.
The Friday statistics mean 129,992 people have now tested positive in Scotland, up from 127,453 the previous day, with the daily test positivity rate at 9.7%.
On Thursday, it was at 10.1%.
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