New variant of Covid-19 has reached the Borders as 190 new cases are reported in the past week

Over the past seven days, a massive 190 new cases of coronavirus were recorded in the Borders, including some cases of the new, highly-transmissible variant.

Dr Tim Patterson.
Dr Tim Patterson.

Other Scottish regions have recorded similar spikes over the festive period, but local health chiefs say the rate of growth is giving real cause for concern as it continues to impact on the delivery of health care services, and they have urged Borderers not to socialise this Hogmanay and New Year.

NHS Borders medical director, Dr Lynn McCallum, said: “We are seeing an increase in the number of people requiring medical attention due to Covid-19.

“There are currently 28 patients with confirmed or suspected Covid-19 being cared for in the Borders General Hospital, with a further eight people in Hay Lodge Hospital [in Peebles] which remains closed to admissions.”

Dr Tim Patterson, director of public health, said: “I am urging people not to break the rules and socialise over the new year weekend.

“There are now cases of the new variant strain of Covid-19 in the Borders as in other mainland boards.

“This variant is highly-transmissible which means it is easier to catch and easier to pass on.

“If you do not mix with people you cannot come into contact with the virus – it is as simple as that.

“Our Test and Protect team continue to work tirelessly to trace close contacts of people who have tested positive for Covid-19; and we know that there are cases where people are mixing with others and not following the rules that apply to the level 4 restrictions currently in place.

“The actions we all take now will have an impact in the coming months so please, do the right thing.

“These rules are really important if we are to keep each other safe and allow time for the Covid vaccination programme to take place over the coming months.”

Local GP, Dr Kevin Buchan added: “Everyone has a role to play in protecting themselves from this virus by staying at home.

“Do it for yourself, your family, your friends; and to protect the services that you rely on across our communities and the people who are working tirelessly, round the clock, to deliver them.”