NHS Forth Valley’s Director of Public Health, Doctor Graham Foster said: “We don’t yet know enough about this new variant so it is important to remain cautious and do everything we can to minimise the risk of spreading infection.
"This includes keeping a safe distance from others, testing yourself regularly for COVID-19 before mixing with people from other households, wearing a face mask and improving ventilation by opening windows at home, work and in cars.
“Regular testing is particularly important over the next few weeks in the run up to Christmas as people start to socialise more and mix with friends and family from other households.
"If you have any symptoms of COVID-19 you should order or book a PCR test and self-isolate until you know your results.”
Dr Foster also highlighted the importance of vaccination in the ongoing battle against COVID-19 and encouraged people to get vaccinated to help protect themselves against the virus.
He said: “Although we need to understand more about how effective the vaccine is against the new variant, we know it is extremely effective against existing variants which make up the overwhelming majority of COVID-19 cases across Scotland.
“If you haven’t already had either your first or second COVID-19 vaccination please attend one of our local drop-in vaccination clinics and if you are eligible for your booster, which is currently being offered to everyone aged 40 and over, please book an appointment now by calling the national vaccination helpline on 0800 030 8013.”