NICOLA Sturgeon today warned the dominant Indian Delta variant could be plunging Britain into a third wave of Covid.
In a gloomy press briefing the First Minister sounded the alarm that Scotland is at a “critical juncture” after cases TRIPLED in just a month.
Vaccinations are “weakening the link” between infections and hospitalisations – but have not completely broken the chain.
She announced that the R-rate was now above 1 and that hospital admissions are rising.
Earlier this week Ms Sturgeon slammed the brakes on her roadmap for millions of people across Scotland.
The planned easing of restrictions this weekend will no longer include large parts of the central belt where the virus is more rife.
This afternoon Ms Sturgeon said: “We are at a very critical juncture right now in what we still very much hope, and believe, is a transition to a less restrictive way of dealing with Covid, but the position we are in now on that transition is a fragile one.
“On the downside, as we can see, cases are rising again, they have more than tripled over the last month and today the more than 900 cases that have been reported is the highest number of new cases since February 17.
“The R number is now estimated to be above one, indeed many experts believe that not just Scotland but the UK is now at the start of a third wave of Covid.”
Earlier this week Nervtag boffin Prof Ravi Gupta put the UK on notice it was in the early stages of a third wave.
The newly rebranded Delta variant is now the dominant strain in Britain and is feared to be more transmissible than even the Kent variant.
It has fuelled calls for Boris Johnson to delay his June 21 unlocking – but so far he is standing firm.
Ms Sturgeon said the new cases are at their highest daily figure since February 17 and are being driven by the delta variant of the virus.
So far, 2,170,570 people in Scotland have been given both doses of a Covid-19 vaccination, with 3,326,005 having received their first dose.
But she pleaded with Scots to remain cautious as lockdown was lifted in some areas on Saturday.
Glasgow, which had been under the strictest restrictions in all of Scotland, will move to Level 2 from Saturday, enabling people to meet others at home and hospitality venues to serve alcohol indoors.
On that date, many island communities will move to Level 0 – the lowest level there is under the Scotland’s five-tier system – while 15 council areas will step down to Level 1, enabling people to gather indoors and outdoors in larger groups and allowing larger attendances at weddings and funerals.
Highland, Argyll and Bute, Aberdeen City and Aberdeenshire, Moray, Angus, Perth and Kinross, Falkirk, Fife, Inverclyde, East and West Lothian, West Dunbartonshire, Dumfries and Galloway and the Borders are all moving to Level 1.
A total of 13 local authority areas: Edinburgh, Midlothian, Dundee, East Dunbartonshire, Renfrewshire, East Renfrewshire, East Ayrshire, North Ayrshire, South Ayrshire, North and South Lanarkshire, Clackmannanshire and Stirling, remain in Level 2 for the time being.