PEOPLE in the Wee County have been urged to take more Covid-19 tests as it is clear the new variant is now being transmitted in Forth Valley.

Following the recent publication of national data showing the success of the Covid-19 LFD testing programme, Dr Graham Foster, NHS Forth Valley's Director of Public Health, is urging Forth Valley people to test more regularly.

Contact tracing continues to identify contacts of any confirmed positive cases who will be advised to self-isolate for 10 days, regardless of their vaccination status but not everyone with Covid-19 has symptoms and the best way to slow spread is for everyone to take regular Lateral Flow tests at home.

Dr Foster said: "Omicron is spreading very fast and will be responsible for the overwhelming majority of new Covid-19 cases across Scotland.

"We are still learning about this new variant so please be especially careful and do everything you can to minimise the risk of spreading the infection.

"Try to keep a safe distance from others, test yourself regularly for Covid-19 before mixing with people from other households, wear a face mask in crowded or indoor public spaces and let fresh air in by opening windows at home, work and in cars."

"Free lateral flow tests are available locally to pick up from Covid-19 testing centres and pharmacies as well as being available to order online for home delivery service.

"Regular testing is particularly important over the next few weeks during the festive period as people are socialising more and mixing with friends and families from other households."

Dr Foster also highlighted the importance of Covid-19 booster vaccinations in staying safe from Covid-19 and encouraged people to be fully vaccinated to help protect themselves against the virus.

He continued: "We know Covid-19 vaccines have been extremely effective against existing variants, but they are most effective against the new variant when you have had a full course including a booster dose.

"If you haven't already had either your first or second Covid-19 vaccination please attend one of our local drop-in vaccination clinics and if you are eligible for your booster, which is currently being offered to everyone aged 18 and over, please book an appointment now.

"If you have a positive LFD test or develop any symptoms of Covid-19 you should book a PCR test and self-isolate until you know your results."

Book a vaccine by visiting nhs.inform.scot/covid19vaccine or call the national helpline on 0800 030 8013.