The number of confirmed Omicron Covid cases has jumped to 29 – with Nicola Sturgeon warning the variant is now spreading fast in the community.
The first minister has said cases of the little-understood strain will likely continue to rise in the coming days and the outbreak is no longer linked to single private event on November 20.
Many of the new cases are now being linked to a Steps concert at the Hydro two days later.
The Highlands confirmed its first case earlier today, after a pupil at a primary school in Nairn tested positive. All pupils in the class, and their families, are now self-isolating.
It has now been confirmed there are three cases in the Highlands, with Grampian and Forth Valley also recording their first cases at one and five respectively.
NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde is now home to 11 cases, while NHS Lanarkshire has nine.
Cases likely to rise quickly
Ms Sturgeon said the latest case numbers confirms there is now community transmission within Scotland.
She said: “Given the nature of transmission we would expect to see cases rise — perhaps significantly — in the days ahead.
“However, health protection teams are continuing work through contact tracing, isolation and testing to slow the spread as far as possible while we learn more about the new variant’s impact.
“Ministers are also keeping the situation under daily review.”
There are currently six Omicron cases linked to the concert on November 22 while no cases have so far been linked to another concert the next night.
Contact tracing under way
There is now a major contact tracing effort under way to find those who may have come into contact with the Omicron variant.
The government says nobody who attended the concert needs to isolate, unless asked to by Test & Protect or if they develop symptoms.
It’s still not known how much of a threat the heavily-mutated strain is, however, some scientists have warned it could bypass vaccines currently available.
Ms Sturgeon previously said the arrival of Omicron in Scotland could be one of the biggest challenges facing the country for some time.
However, national clinical director Jason Leitch today urged people not to lose too much hope for Christmas celebrations just yet, urging people to follow all the regulations and “flow before you go” to any event.
Positive cases and deaths on the decline
Meanwhile, the Scottish Government’s daily figures have noted a decline in both positive cases an deaths overnight.
A further 2,432 cases were recorded in the latest 24 hours, a reduction of 570 cases from Thursday.
Sixteen people have died after contracting the virus, taking Scotland’s death toll to 9,634.
Health boards in the north and north-east have also seen a reduction in deaths and positive cases overnight.
NHS Grampian recorded 157 cases as well as one death.
NHS Highland recorded no deaths amidst 70 positive cases.