Scotland has recorded its one millionth coronavirus case as the country battles the highly infectious Omicron variant.
A total of 1,010,660 cases of the virus have now been detected in Scotland since the start of the pandemic, statistics from the Scottish Government revealed on Thursday, as infections continue to surge.
Health Secretary Humza Yousaf said the “past two years have undoubtedly been some of the toughest this country has faced in peacetime”, and as Scotland passed the grim milestone he added it is “important to acknowledge the huge toll the pandemic has had on us all”.
He added: “We have all been affected by the Covid crisis in some way or another and my thoughts remain with everyone who has lost a loved one.
“The immense pressure the virus has also put on our NHS cannot be understated and I’d like to thank every single person across our health and social care sectors who have worked so hard to look after us.
“As we continue to navigate our way through the pandemic, all of us can play a part in helping to keep everyone safe by getting vaccinated. I would urge anyone who is eligible to get their vaccines and boosters as soon as possible, it really could save your life.”
Within the past 24 hours, Scotland recorded 18 coronavirus-linked deaths and 11,360 new cases.
The figures show 57,217 tests for Covid-19 reported results in the past 24 hours and 23.1% were positive, down from 26.9% on Wednesday.
The newly recorded deaths take the toll under this measurement, of people who tested positive for the virus in the previous 28 days, to 9,890.
The figures include a note advising of delays between tests being taken and results being reported, but it said Public Health Scotland is monitoring the situation.
There were 1,267 people in hospital on Wednesday with recently confirmed Covid, up 44 in 24 hours, and 43 were in intensive care, up one.
Scottish chief medical officer Sir Gregor Smith said: “As we reach the milestone of one million Covid-19 cases in Scotland, I’d like to take the opportunity thank the incredible health and care professionals across Scotland who have been at the forefront of the response to this pandemic.
“Their tireless work and dedication in the most difficult of circumstances has been truly inspiring.”
Meanwhile, as cases continue to surge, patients in the Glasgow area have been urged to avoid accident and emergency departments unless their condition is life-threatening.
NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde said due to the impact of rising Omicron infections, staff are struggling to cope with demand and services are operating well above normal capacity.
The health board said the cause is “multi-factorial” and includes staff absences, a rise in Covid cases and people delaying treatment over the festive period.