The number of patients with Covid in Scottish hospitals has reached the highest level since the start of the pandemic as restrictions were eased on Monday.
Most of the Covid rules imposed two years ago to tackle the newly discovered virus have been lifted today, however, the wearing of masks will remain mandatory until at least Tuesday, March 29.
It comes as the latest figures show 2,128 patients were in hospital with the virus on Sunday, which is a new record high for the country, with 31 of those in intensive care.
A total of 9,533 new cases of Covid were reported in the last 24 hours, with no new deaths.
However, Scottish Government officials warned this figure may be lower than normal given register offices are generally closed at weekends.
Covid cases across north and north-east drop
In the NHS Grampian area, there have been 925 new Covid cases in the last 24 hours – a drop of 691 since Friday – with 155 people currently being treated in hospital for the virus.
Positive cases in the Highlands have also decreased by 621, from a total of 1,308 new cases reported on Friday to 687 today.
There are 134 patients with Covid in hospitals across the region, five of which are in intensive care.
Figures show there’s also been a decrease in the number of new cases in the Western Isles after last week’s data showed the health board has had the highest amount of cases per 100,000 people in Scotland over the last seven days.
Cases recorded by NHS Western Isles have dropped by 26 since Friday with a total of 117 people having tested positive for the virus in the last 24 hours.
Meanwhile, there have been 41 new Covid cases in Shetland and 24 new cases in Orkney.
People urged to get vaccinated
So far, 4,449,246 people have received their first dose of a Covid vaccination, 4,175,197 have received their second dose, and 3,476,291 have received a third dose or booster.
Earlier today, Professor Linda Bauld, of Edinburgh University told the BBC the government may now be thinking of offering a second booster, or fourth jag, to all age groups.
While at the moment a fourth jab is only offered to those clinically most vulnerable, she said the programme may soon be extended, with the over 50s possibly getting another booster as soon as autumn.