PROVISIONAL Covid data from over the Christmas period suggests that Scotland has recorded its three highest ever daily case totals, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has warned.

Public Health Scotland is not providing official Covid figures between December 25-28, with the next official count expected on December 29.

However, the Scottish Government has released provisional data for Christmas Day, Boxing Day, and December 27 – with the caveat that a lag in reporting time means “the majority of these cases will relate to tests done before the Christmas break”.

The figures show the three highest ever daily Covid case counts recorded in Scotland, with 8252 recorded on Christmas Day, 11,030 on Boxing Day and 10,562 on December 27.

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The First Minister said while the data is provisional, it does reflect the expected steep increase in cases due to the high transmissibility of the Omicron variant.

“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,” she added.

“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,” she went on.

The National:

“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.”

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The First Minister reiterated her plea for people to keep indoor gatherings to a maximum of three households and reminded Scots to get their booster as soon as possible.

“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.”