The First Minister has warned of “further waves” of Covid-19 in the winter months amid a seven-week spike in cases.
While coronavirus restrictions have been eased in Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon has urged Scots to take necessary precautions to prevent “serious illness” from the virus.
Her warnings come as Covid-19 cases in Scotland increase for the seventh week in a row, according to the Office for National Statistics.
One in 15 people were estimated to have the virus in the week ending July 14.
This is around 340,900 Scots – about 6.48% of the population.
It is a slight increase on the estimated 334,000 people who had the virus in the week to July 7, with Scotland having the highest proportion of people infected of all UK nations.
Ms Sturgeon said it is difficult to look ahead at what may happen with the virus, but added “common sense” suggests the virus is not going to “suddenly disappear”.
Speaking to the PA news agency at a medical centre in Parkhead, Glasgow, she added: “As we go into winter, we may well see further waves of Covid.
“It is a virus that is continuing to mutate and change and that’s causing real challenges.”
But she said taking measures to protect yourself – such as receiving all doses of the coronavirus vaccine – will help Scots stay safe.
“The challenge in winter is always exacerbated by the other pressures that health services will cope with round about the winter period,” Ms Sturgeon said.
“This is something we’ve got to continue to take seriously.
“Life has returned more or less to normal but with the virus still circulating, it makes sense to take precautions and to protect yourself as much as possible.
“Crucially, make sure you have all doses of the vaccine. There will be an autumn booster programme for certain groups in the population, over 50s and people with particular conditions.
“It’s really important that you make sure your vaccines are fully up to date because that is providing the best possible protection against serious illness.”
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