Covid cases reach record high in Scotland and England over festive period

A record number of people in Scotland and England have tested positive for Covid over the Christmas weekend.

Provisional figures show that on December 25, 8,252 cases were recorded in Scotland. 11,030 positive tests were confirmed on Boxing Day, while 10,562 were reported on December 27.

These record numbers are the highest daily totals in the country since coronavirus cases were first recorded in Scotland in March 2020.

Nicola Sturgeon said its likely case numbers in Scotland will rise in the coming days due to the high transmissibility of the Omicron variant. The First Minister urged people to limit socialising in person “as much as possible”.

While the data for the three days covers tests reported in the preceding 24-hour period, the lag in reporting means that the majority of these cases will relate to tests done before the Christmas break.

Meanwhile, England reported a record number of new Covid cases on Christmas Day. 113,628 infections were confirmed on 25 December.

Also, 103,558 people tested positive on Boxing Day, while 98,515 did so in the last 24-hour period.

The government's dashboard had not been updated with new figures since Christmas Eve, and the newest data is not UK-wide.

Wales reported 5,335 cases on Boxing Day.

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Speaking of Scotland's numbers, Ms Sturgeon said: "These figures underline how important it is that we don't underestimate the impact of Omicron."

"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".

Although no further restrictions will be imposed in England before the new year, Scotland has brought in new measures.

From Monday, nightclubs will shut and restaurants and bars serving alcohol can only offer table service.

Indoor venues will also have to reinstate one-metre social distancing regulations.

Scottish football has been hit hard by the new Covid restrictions.

And attendance limits were placed on large events from Sunday after Ms Sturgeon announced last week that just 100 people would be able to attend a standing indoor event and 200 seated.

Outdoor events will also be restricted to 500 – a rule which has hit football games hardest.

Scottish football authorities brought forward the planned winter break, meaning just one game will be played with the reduced number of fans.

The restrictions in Scotland will be reviewed every three weeks.