Coronavirus restrictions have all but disappeared in Scotland as fears over the spread of the virus ease.
While mask-wearing is still advised, along with guidance to maintain social distance and wash hands regularly, businesses and leisure venues have opened up and large-scale events have returned.
But as the Omicron wave recedes – with numbers in hospital and intensive care dropping and more than three million Scots having been given a booster jab, rates of the virus remain high in some areas and daily cases have not fallen below 5,000 for weeks.
Now the Scottish Government is confirmed vaccines will be offered to primary school pupils in Scotland as a new push to get youngsters vaccinated opens up.
READ MORE: Public Health Scotland pulls Covid case rate data
With most adults and many older children now vaccinated, the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation has recommended the programme be rolled out to youngsters in the five to 11 age group.
Speaking yesterday, Deputy First Minister john Swinney warned that the virus still presents a danger to public health, and defended a decision to extend Scottish Government powers mandating face masks and vaccine passports.
He said: Mr Swinney said: “Fundamentally the government has got to have in place a legal framework that allows us to act.
“Covid has not gone away, it has not disappeared, it has not ended, and anyone who puts that argument around is just misleading people.
“Covid is still out there, it’s still a significant threat to public health. We’ve got to proceed with care but we’ve also got to apply the proportionate test at all times.
“That’s what the Scottish government looks at in all circumstances to make sure the measures we have are proportionate and appropriate.”
In Scotland, around 219,300 people were estimated to have had Covid-19 last week, up from 211,300 the previous week – both the equivalent of around one in 25. In terms of actual tests, 43,318 people were confirmed to have the virus between 7 February and 13 February.
READ MORE: More than 7,100 new cases and 22 deaths recorded in 24 hours
The latest Scottish Government statistics showed Scotland has recorded 22 coronavirus-linked deaths and 7,144 new cases in the past 24 hours.
The daily figures mean that since the pandemic started, 1,312,019 people have been confirmed as having Covid-19.
The figures show the total number of people who have died within 28 days of testing positive for coronavirus is 10,566.
But where is the virus most prevalent? The most recent data from Public Health Scotland outlines the top ten hotspots, judged by cases per 100,000 population — a standard metric during the pandemic. Here are the local authority areas with the current highest rates.
An outbreak among the islands of Scotland’s furthest-flung outpost has driven the region to the top of the charts in recent days. According to the latest data, there were 524 confirmed positive cases – the equivalent of 2,291 per 100,000 people.
Cases among the Orkney Islands have risen to be the among the highest in Scotland when viewed by rate per 100,000. Public Health Scotland (PHS) data shows that there were 288 cases between 7 and 13 February, giving an overall rate of 1,284.
Dundee is the metropolitan area with the highest rate. This week’s figures show that there were 1,529 positive cases identified, giving a rate per 100,000 of 1,027.
This local authority area, which includes the towns of Pennicuik, Newtongrange and Dalkeith, is the mainland council region with the highest rate of cases per 100,000 people. PHS figures show there were 901 cases, giving a rate of 967.
The capital follows Dundee as the second city to record a high rate of Covid infections. According to the latest figures, there were 5,069 fresh Covid cases recorded in the seven days data is available for, giving a rate of 960.
The city in central Scotland is sixth on the list pf council areas where rates of the virus are highest. PHS data shows that 854 cases were recorded, giving a rate of 907.
The coastal region, with its mainly rural population centered around Arbroath, Forfar and Brechin, recorded 1039 cases – giving a rate of 897 per 100,000 people.
Along with other regions in the North-East, Aberdeenshire also recorded a comparatively high rate. Figures show there were 2,319 cases, giving a rate of 889.
The Central Scotland local authority area of West Lothian, which includes Livingstone, Bathgate and Linlithgow, recorded 1630 cases, giving a rate of 886.
The fourth city to appear in the list of ten areas where the Covid case rate is highest, the Granite City recorded 1961 cases, equivalent to a rate of 856 per 100,000.