East Ayrshire appears to have turned the corner of Omicron as the latest government figures suggest a steep decline in the number of confirmed positive tests in the area.

The Chronicle reported last week that there were 2,098 positive test results returned for the week of January 1-7, but the most recent data from Public Health Scotland show a steep decline in the number of positives.

For the seven days from January 9-15, there were 698 positive PCR test results returned.

The seven-day moving average number of cases was 99.7 yesterday – the lowest it has been since the beginning of December, before the Omicron wave built up.

As of yesterday, there were 137 patients in hospitals in Ayrshire with a Covid-related illness, up from 129 last week. There were less than five in intensive care units.

Of those aged over 12 in East Ayrshire, 93.2 per cent have received at least one dose of a Covid vaccine, 87.6 per cent have had two, and 69.1 per cent have had three doses.

This week saw the relaxation of Covid restrictions as large outdoor public events such as football matches got the go-ahead.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, speaking at a Holyrood Covid briefing yesterday, said that all the remaining restrictions brought in to battle Omicron, including limits on attendance at indoor public events, the requirement for one metre physical distancing between different groups in indoor public places, and the requirement for table service in hospitality venues serving alcohol on the premises, and the closure of nightclubs, would be lifted with effect from Monday, January 24.