Stirling Council’s Leaders and NHS Forth Valley have urged residents to follow the latest Covid-19 national guidance and to keep getting tested over the festive period.
The First Minister recently set out a range of measures to try to slow down the spread of the Omicron variant.
Among the updated guidance is a request for people to reduce social interaction at home or indoor public places to a maximum of three households at any time. Before meeting, people are also being asked to take a lateral flow test.
New guidance for businesses to minimise transmission of the virus was also published and has now taken effect.
Contacts with other households should be kept to a minimum over the festive period, with the FM also asking people to stay at home as much as possible before and immediately after Christmas.
Stirling Council Leader, Cllr Scott Farmer urged the public to help prevent the spread of the virus while visiting one of the mobile testing units which are available in different locations each week in the heart of communities.
He said: “I know how tough the latest Covid news has been to take for everyone. For almost 20 months, we have been living under varying levels of restrictions but with emergence of a new fast-spreading variant it’s important we try to slow down the spread of the virus to protect our health services and communities.
“By getting tested, whether that’s attending one of our mobile testing centres or picking up kits to take home, residents can find out if they are positive and take immediate action to stop the spread of the virus to others.
“By taking regular tests and following the advice over the coming days, we can still see our loved ones and enjoy a safe and happy Christmas and New Year.”
Targeting both higher footfall areas and harder to reach communities, the mobile units offer Stirling residents who do not currently have any symptoms of Covid-19 the chance to pick up LFD (Lateral Flow Device) asymptomatic testing kits and get tested themselves on site.
Members of the public can also collect lateral flow test kits from all Stirling Council Libraries. Taking these rapid tests is being encouraged, especially before mixing with other households.
Depute Leader, Cllr Chris Kane: “When people have sacrificed so much for so long during the pandemic, I understand the disappointment and a sense of fatigue at these new measures. We all feel it.
“For families across Stirling gearing up for the festive period and planning get-togethers, for our businesses in the midst of such an important period, the timing is tough – but the advice from the Scottish Government and public health agencies is that these actions are necessary.
“Even if you’re not showing any form of symptoms it is still possible that you may have the virus and can pass it on to others. Please get tested, get your booster and help protect yourself, your friends and family, and everyone in your community over the festive season.”
NHS Forth Valley’s Director of Public Health, Dr Graham Foster, said: “Omicron is spreading very fast and is now responsible for the 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 during the festive period as people are socialising more and mixing with friends and families from other households.”