NEARLY half of new Covid infections in Scotland are now being detected among under 25s.

In a dramatic turnaround from the early stages of the pandemic, latest figures reveal that 419 of the 941 new cases in the past week (45 per cent) were identified among people aged 24 or younger.

That compares to just 32 (3%) among Scots aged 65 and older.

It comes after Police Scotland revealed they were called to break up 300 house parties across Scotland last weekend, including one attended by 300 revellers at The Mansion House in Gorebridge which was being run as a commercial event.

Nicola Sturgeon previously warned that socialising by young people was "one of our biggest risk areas" for spreading the virus, with nightclubs among the leisure venues to remain closed.

READ MORE: How can we persuade young to stick to Covid rules when their own risk is so low?

Young people are far less likely than pensioners to develop serious complications, however, and to date there have been just 60 hospital admissions in Scotland among patients aged 15 to 24 - and only three of them since the end of June, before pubs and beer gardens re-opened.

It comes as the latest statistics from Public Health Scotland also showed a continued surge - to nearly 30,000 - in the number of school-age children being screened for Covid.

The return to classrooms has set off a cascade of cold- and flu-like illnesses, overwhelming testing capacity and leading to criticism that some care homes were now facing lengthy waits for routine test results.

Tony Banks, chief executive of Balhousie Care said only six results were returned from 846 staff over the course of a week after schools returned, warning that residents were "at risk of being exposed to asymptomatic staff".

The First Minister has repeatedly appealed to parents not to seek a test unless their child is displaying specific Covid symptoms such as a fever, new persistent cough, or a loss or change in sense of taste or smell - but not a runny nose or sore throat.

In the week ending August 30, however, a total of 29,477 children aged two to 17 were tested for the virus - with just 37 positive cases detected.

That was up from just over 17,000 the week before, when 51 cases were found.

Meanwhile, there are warnings that Lanarkshire could be the next part of Scotland to face tightening restrictions amid rising infection rates in the region.

READ MORE: Eight-fold increase in children aged two to 17 being tested for Covid

NHS Lanarkshire's director of public heath has warned that the region is "very close" to having to reimplement lockdown restrictions, similar to those introduced in the Glasgow area, after the number of cases rose by 16.

A total of 111 new cases have been detected in the region in the past five days.

Gabe Docherty said the figures "should be a wake-up call" for the region's residents to avoid large household gatherings.

Calling for residents to try and limit the number of people they have contact with, Mr Docherty said: "No-one wants another lockdown but Lanarkshire is very close to facing additional Covid-19 restrictions similar to those in Glasgow and neighbouring areas.

"Ahead of the weekend, and indeed beyond, we need everyone's help to avoid that happening by following well-publicised advice."

READ MORE: Nicola Sturgeon reveals Covid hospital patients numbers are being audited amid 'overcounting' claim

Across the Greater Glasgow and Clyde region - including Glasgow City, East Refrewshire and West Dunbartonshire, where residents have been banned from indoor household visits - an increase of 73 positive cases was recorded yesterday, out of 159 new cases Scotland-wide.

NHS Grampian, where the Aberdeen bar cluster was identified last month, recorded a rise of just six new cases.

The number virus cases linked to a Highland slaughterhouse has also risen by one, to30.

The Millers of Speyside abattoir in Grantown has voluntarily closed for two weeks.

Dr Tim Allison, director of public health, said there was "no significant community transmission".