The first suspected cases of the Covid-19 Omicron variant have been recorded in Dumfries and Galloway.
Fewer than five cases have been identified.
According to the D&G Health and Social Partnership, as the Omicron variant is known to be more transmissible than the Delta variant, Omicron case numbers are expected to rapidly increase.
On Friday, Scotland's First Minister said a rise in cases is "virtually certain" and warned it would "run riot" through the population, with modelling in a Scottish Government evidence paper showing infections could surge to as many as 25,000 a day in the worst case scenario.
Director of Public Health Valerie White said: “Unfortunately, it was only ever a matter of time until Omicron arrived in Dumfries and Galloway – and now it’s here.
"This is an incredibly fast-changing situation, and the few short days we’d escaped the arrival of the variant as it spread elsewhere in Scotland may well prove to have been extremely valuable in continuing the roll out of our vaccination programme as the best possible defence."
Announcing a major change to the vaccination programme, Ms White said: “We’re expecting that as of Tuesday next week, anyone aged 30 years and above who is at least 12 weeks from their second dose will be able to book a booster vaccination.
"Currently, people aged over 40, along with unpaid Carers and household contacts of the immune-suppressed should be booking in through the national portal by visiting https://vacs.nhs.scot/csp or calling 0800 030 8013. Meanwhile, young people aged 16 and 17 now need to use the portal to book second doses.”
Scientists advising the Government have said tougher Covid restrictions may be needed to prevent Omicron causing anywhere between 25,000 to 75,000 deaths in England over the next five months.