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Scots welcome in 2022 with scaled-down Hogmanay amid surge in coronavirus cases

Scots have welcomed in a scaled-down New Year with Hogmanay muted celebrations amid a wave of coronavirus restrictions.

The country enters 2022 with the battle against Covid-19 still being fought – and the new Omicron variant causing huge numbers of hospital admissions in Scotland.

Like with last year’s celebrations this year here has been many restrictions in place – with Scots urged to stay at home and only host small-scale gatherings.

Large scale gatherings in major Scots cities have been cancelled with crowds at outdoor public events capped at 500 since Boxing Day, for at least three weeks, and numbers at indoor public events limited to 100 standing or 200 seated.



Arthur Grace and Lynsey Gray, from Fife, take a selfie on Edinburgh's Calton Hill
Arthur Grace and Lynsey Gray, from Fife, take a selfie on Edinburgh’s Calton Hill ahead of the bells on New Year’s Eve

This month Scottish Government chiefs announced ordered nightclubs to close their doors and pubs to offer table service only in an effort to tackle rising Omicron cases.

But still parties have been held at countless homes and licensed venues across the country.

Pictures on social media have showed many Scots enjoying the festivities in homes and pubs while a major fireworks display was held over the skies of Stirling.



Caitlin Scott from Glasgow and Harry McAuley from Aberdeen pose on Edinburgh's Princes Street
Caitlin Scott from Glasgow and Harry McAuley from Aberdeen pose on Edinburgh’s Princes Street with balloons they’ve bought for their New Year’s Eve party

The display over Stirling Castle and the Wallace Monument was televised across Scotland on the BBC to the tune of traditional favourite Auld Lang Syne.

But the traditional party zone of central Edinburgh was deathly quiet, with pictures showing a near deserted Princes Street – although some hardy souls still made it out.



A near-deserted Princes Street in Edinburgh is pictured as the time passes midnight,
A near-deserted Princes Street in Edinburgh is pictured as the time passes midnight,

Many Scots have reportedly crossed the border to England – where there are fewer restrictions – to bring in the New Year with a bang.

Prime Minister Boris Johnston has not spoken against partygoers travelling from down south to celebrate, instead telling visitors to “enjoy New Year but in a cautious and sensible way.”

Police Scotland confirmed is it not against rules to travel to England, adding there are no plans to establish roadblocks or checkpoints on the border.

Scotland’s Deputy First Minister John Swinney also told new year revellers planning to travel to England amid more relaxed Covid restrictions it would be the “wrong course of action”.

Mr Swinney said while there is nothing to stop partygoers from heading south of the border, where nightclubs are still open, for their Hogmanay celebrations, this would go against the “spirit” of the regulations put in place by the Scottish Government.

Explaining the latest guidance Ms Sturgeon said: “Over Hogmanay and New Year’s Day, and for at least the first week in January, we are advising everyone to stay at home more than normal, to reduce contacts with people outside our own households, and to limit the size of any indoor social gatherings that do take place so that they don’t include people from any more than three households.”

Today a further 11,962 cases of coronavirus have been reported in Scotland – with the disease claiming another 13 lives.

Latest figures published by the Scottish Goverment and Public Health Scotland show there are 859 Covid patients in Scottish hospitals which is up 49 from yesterday.

There are currently 36 people with the disease being treated in ICUs.

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