Six cases of the new Omicron variant of Covid-19 have been identified in Scotland, Health Secretary Humza Yousaf has confirmed.
Four of the cases are in Lanarkshire and two are in the Greater Glasgow and Clyde health board area.
Concerns over the variant and how it might impact people have led to a tightening of travel rules in the UK.
The Scottish Government says that contact tracing is under way to establish the origin of the variant and any individuals that the positive cases may have come into contact with in recent weeks.
Mr Yousaf said: “This will be a worrying time for the six people now identified as having the new variant.
“All will receive expert help and support and Public Health Scotland will undertake enhanced contact tracing in all cases.
“This will help establish the origin of the virus and any further individuals they have come into contact with in recent weeks.
Until more is known we must be cautious and do everything we can to minimise the risk of spreading infection
“There is still much to learn about the Omicron variant. Questions remain about its severity, transmissibility and response to treatments or vaccines and scientists are working at pace to provide additional information.
“Until more is known we must be cautious and do everything we can to minimise the risk of spreading infection.
“We have already taken steps and are aligning with the new border restrictions being introduced by the UK Government which will require fully vaccinated arrivals to take a PCR test within two days of arrival and to self-isolate until a negative result is received.
“These measures will be introduced as soon as possible and kept under constant review.
“However, we reserve the right to go further if necessary. We are also adopting the expanded red list of countries identified by the UK Government. This will also be kept under review.”
Mr Yousaf says people must “redouble efforts” to follow rules that have been in place throughout the pandemic.
He added: “Wear a face covering on public transport and in all indoor settings for food and retail; open windows especially if you have people visiting at home; keep washing your hands regularly and thoroughly.
‘Work from home where possible’
“Work from home where possible, take regular lateral flow tests – especially before mixing with others outside your household.
“If you have symptoms, self-isolate and take a test and if contacted by Test and Protect or public health teams please co-operate and follow their advice.
“All close contacts of suspected Omicron cases will be advised to self-isolate for 10 days, regardless of their vaccination status.
“And of course, if you are eligible for your booster, or are still to have any dose of the Covid-19 vaccine, please get vaccinated now.”