Omicron: Covid cases likely to keeping rising until mid-January, expert warns

Coronavirus cases in Scotland are expected to keep rising until at least the middle of next month, an expert has said.

Dr Linda de Caestecker, director of public health at NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, said coronavirus levels in both Scotland and her health board area are currently at the highest they have been since the start of the pandemic.

With infections expected to keep rising in the coming weeks, she called on people to protect themselves by getting vaccinated – with a particular plea for those who have already had their first two doses to come forward for a booster.

Speaking at a vaccination centre at Hampden Park stadium in Glasgow, Dr de Caestecker said: “We don’t have queues, people can be seen very quickly, we have plenty of vaccinators, we have really ramped it up.

Coronavirus cases in Scotland are expected to keep rising until at least the middle of next month, an expert has said.

“You can go online and book an appointment the same day or you can just turn up.”

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She stressed that booster vaccinations are the “most effective way we can manage this pandemic”, adding: “The important thing is the booster vaccination protects against serious disease from Omicron.

“We’re still seeing cases even in people who are vaccinated but it reduces your risk of serious disease substantially.

“It’s so easy to get, it will reduce the risk of transmission as well, but the important thing is that risk of serious disease.”

Dr de Caestecker said the NHS is still able to cope, despite the continued pressure from the pandemic.

She said: “Our hospitals, our general practice, our assessment centres, are under a lot of pressure, but they are coping.”

While infections are at a record level, she added: “We’re not seeing the same translation of infections into serious disease that we saw in previous waves, because people are vaccinated.”

She urged people to “be more cautious than you would in normal times” over Hogmanay, and added: “We have still got rising cases, and if you are going to meet with people test before you go, do a lateral flow test, do not go if it’s positive.

“Do not go if you are symptomatic, we are still hearing of people going out and socialising even with symptoms. Do not do that. Be cautious and test.”