First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has said that there is no evidence to suggest that the new Omicron variant of coronavirus is more severe.

Six cases of the variant have so far been recorded in Scotland, with some of them having no link to travel to or from South Africa or the countries on the red list, which suggests there could be some level to community transmission.

The Scottish Government is asking people to significantly increase compliance with the current rules in place: wearing face coverings, taking regular lateral flow tests, getting vaccinated and maintaining high levels of hygiene.

The World Health Organisation have also said there is currently no evidence to suggest that illness caused by the Omicron variant is more severe.

Speaking at an emergency Covid meeting yesterday, Ms Sturgeon said: “Although more data is still required, there is no evidence at this stage to suggest that the disease caused by Omicron is more severe.”

The First Minister also confirmed that the current situation in Scotland was stable.

Ms Sturgeon has written a joint letter with Welsh leader Mark Drakeford to the UK government urging a four nations policy to introduce an eight-day self-isolation period for people arriving from overseas.

As for North Ayrshire case rates, the latests stats show that there have been 372 new cases of coronavirus confirmed, which is down again from 393 from the week before.

We now have a seven-day rate per 100,000 population of 277.1.

The Scottish average is 328.9.