Following a steep rise in cases of COVID-19 across Scotland due to the highly transmissible nature of the Omicron variant, the First Minister has once again issued a plea for people to “act now” to slow the spread of infection.

Over the past seven days there have been 530 confirmed cases of Covid-19 in our region which is an increase of 190 on the previous week.

Vaccination remains the best defence against the spread of the virus and vaccination clinics are doing a roaring trade, seeing hundreds of people every day in locations across the Borders. NHS Borders would like to thank everyone who has come forward so far as they continue to work tirelessly in order to get booster doses to everyone who is eligible as quickly as they can. Details of clinics are updated regularly and are available to see on the NHS Borders website and on their Facebook page.

In addition to protecting yourself by getting your jag, it is still vitally important to follow the guidance and limit your social contacts in the run up to the Christmas weekend and immediately afterwards. This will help stem the flow of transmission and protect against pressure on health and care services.

Please also follow this additional guidance:

§ If you can work from home you should. If you are unable to work from home then you are encouraged to take regular lateral flow tests.

§ Please wear your face covering when you are out and about in public areas, and please wear it correctly, covering your nose and mouth.

§ In the run-up to and in the immediate aftermath of Christmas, you should reduce social interaction at home or in indoor public places to a maximum of three households at any time, with everyone encouraged to take a lateral flow test before meeting.

§ If you are socialising, please take a lateral flow test before you go. If your lateral flow test is positive you must isolate immediately and book a PCR test.

§ When socialising, keep rooms ventilated and maintain social distancing.

§ Wash your hands regularly and cover your nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing.

§ Use the COVID-19 status (vaccine passport), Protect Scotland and Check-in Scotland apps.

§ Even if you are not socialising and feel well, you should test with LFD kits twice a week and record your results.

§ If you receive a positive LFD result, feel unwell or if you are asked to, self-isolate and book a PCR test immediately by visiting the GOV.UK website or calling 119.

§ If you test positive or you are asked to provide details of people you have been in contact with please try to do so via online contact tracing. You can conveniently fill in contact tracing details online day or night without needing to speak to one of our Contact Tracers over the phone.