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Scots should be ‘cautious’ over Christmas to prevent Omicron spread, says Professor Jason Leitch

Scots are being urged to be cautious at Christmas.
Scots are being urged to be cautious at Christmas.

National Clinical Director Jason Leitch has warned Scots to be cautious on Christmas Day to prevent the spread of the Omicron variant.

He was optimistic Scots would recognise the potential risks of large gatherings over the festive period and urged people “not to throw caution to the wind”.

Professor Leitch told BBC Scotland: “How you do that [celebrate Christmas] is up to you, but we’re asking you to be as careful and as cautious as you can be.”

The call comes as Covid cases reached a four-month-high on December 24.

Coronavirus cases totalled 7,076, with the number of people in Scotland now infected with Omicron exceeding 6,000.

Covid Scotland Jason Leitch
Jason Leitch urged Scots to be cautious when meeting with family at Christmas.

While Christmas Day celebrations go ahead, new restrictions on large gatherings from December 26 are expected to limit the spread of Omicron.

Several studies have shown Omicron appears milder than Delta and has currently resulted in fewer people in hospital, however the numbers are rising.

New measures include limits to major gatherings effectively cancelling sporting events, concerts and festivals in the early new year.

The latest event to be cancelled is the Strathpuffer 24-hour bike challenge in the Highlands in January.

Acceleration in Covid booster jabs

While organisers debated whether or not it should still go ahead, they reasoned that “just because we can doesn’t mean we should”.

The new guidance, Professor Leitch says, is to limit the spread of the virus until the booster programme can attain high levels of boosted immunity across the country.

There has been an acceleration in booster jabs administered before the New Year, with 2,841,703 over-18s in Scotland boosted.

However, health experts have alluded to the need for a fourth dose in the future to combat waning protection against Covid.

Coronavirus in Scotland – here are the key demographics

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