There are tentative signs that the Omicron variant may have hit its peak in East Ayrshire, as the latest Covid stats show declining case rates being reported.

The latest figures from Public Health Scotland show that there were 2,098 positive test results returned in East Ayrshire between January 2-8.

That is an increase from 1,772 that we reported last week as occurring between December 22-28 (PHS did not publish figures over the new year period).

However it is lower than the seven-day total being recorded at the end of last week, which was well above 2,000.

On January 8 there were 102 positive tests reported – the second lowest in 30 days – and provisional data for January 9 suggests there were as few as 73, though this figure is subject to revision.

The picture will become clearer later this week if this apparent drop in cases is sustained.

Of those aged over 12 in East Ayrshire, 93.1 per cent have received at least one dose of a Covid vaccine, 86.1 per cent have had two, and 67.9 per cent have had three doses.

There are currently 129 people in the NHS Ayrshire and Arran health board area in hospital with a Covid-related illness, the highest total since October 10 (132). However, there are less than five people in intensive care, there were eight people in intensive care on October 12.

Restrictions on large outdoor events in Scotland, including football matches and concerts, are to be lifted from next Monday, the First Minister announced yesterday.

However, guidance is still to limit indoor mixing to three households.