By Bill Heaney
Local people have been urged to stay at home and not celebrate Hogmanay with other households as daily Covid-19 case numbers hit a record high.
Another 1,895 cases were reported on Tuesday – the highest logged on a single day since mass testing began.
The whole Scottish mainland is in the highest level of restrictions in a bid to contain a new strain of the virus.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said it was “especially vital” people did not mix indoors with other households.
The near 2,000 cases reported on Tuesday was double the number logged on Monday, with 14.4% of tests returning a positive result.
Ms Sturgeon said there had been “quite a big jump in cases”, although there could be a “Christmas lag” in reporting some results.
She said the new strain of Covid-19 was “contributing to faster spread” of the virus, with a rising trend across the country and particular concerns over Shetland and the south of Scotland.
The bells will ring out to bring in the New Year at St Patrick’s Church in Dumbarton at midnight on Hogmanay. Pictured here are the campanology team with Canon Gerry Conroy.
The first minister said: “The main message to people is to make sure you are not visiting other people’s houses just now. Unfortunately that includes Hogmanay and New Year.
“This is a time of year I know people enjoy getting together, but that’s not safe to do this year.
“As we head into the Hogmanay and new year period I really do appeal to people to stay out of the homes of others, celebrate new year in your own home only with your own household.”
Deputy Chief Constable Malcolm Graham, pictured left, said: “We’re asking everyone to continue to do the right thing to stop the spread of this virus and protect public health as its clear that there is an ongoing risk.
“Remember that parties and indoor gatherings of different households are not permitted and we will continue to use our enforcement powers to disperse large groups of people where necessary.
“Our approach throughout the pandemic has been to engage with the public, explain the legislation and guidance, and encourage compliance, but we will not hesitate to continue to use our enforcement powers as a last resort.
“Please follow the Scottish Government’s advice, which is to celebrate Hogmanay and the New Year with your own household only, in your own home.”
A further seven deaths of patients who had tested positive for Covid-19 in the last 28 days were also reported on Tuesday, although registration offices were closed over the festive break and the publication of most figures has been delayed.
As of Tuesday there were 1,092 people in hospital with a recently-confirmed case of the virus, with 65 in intensive care.
The whole of mainland Scotland has been in level four – the top tier of measures – since Boxing Day, and will remain there for at least three weeks.
Covid 19 has not gone away. People are still dying in hospitals, care homes and elsewhere and an appeal has gone out for people to follow the rules and instructions for washing their hands regularly and keeping a safe distance from others.