Scotland has recorded the highest daily total of coronavirus cases since the pandemic began, new figures have shown.
A total of 558 people tested positive across the country in the past 24 hours, with 30 of these in the north and north-east.
The latest update from the Scottish Government shows the new cases represent 9.5% of newly-tested individuals.
There are 15 new cases in the Highlands and 12 in Grampian, bringing their cumulative totals since the pandemic began to 609 and 2,171 respectively.
There are also three new cases in the Western Isles, bringing their total to 13.
Shetland and Orkney have no new cases. Their totals remain on 60 and 20.
A total of 89 people are in hospital across the country having recently tested positive for the virus – and 11 of those are receiving treatment in intensive care units.
Data on the number of new deaths related to coronavirus in the past 24 hours is not yet available. To date, there have been 2,510 deaths related to the virus.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon today insisted that students are not to blame for a rise in coronavirus outbreaks.
All students face disciplinary action if they break strict measures imposed on them by their universities, including bans on visiting pubs over this weekend and restrictions on socialising.
Ms Sturgeon said: “I am so sorry, so heart sorry, that this time of your lives is being made as tough as it is just now – I really feel for you, but I feel especially for those of you starting university for the first time and, of course, living alone for the first time.
“This is an exciting time in your lives but I remember from my own experience… that it’s also a time of adjustment and it’s also a time of home sickness as well, and that’s the case for students every year without Covid-19 but it is much more difficult given the circumstances you are all facing right now.”
She said some students feel they are being blamed for the spread of Covid-19 but “that is not the case”.
“It’s not your fault”, she added.
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