Nine cases of the Omicron variant of coronavirus have now been identified in Scotland, the country’s health secretary Humza Yousaf has said.

Mr Yousaf said there are now five cases in the Lanarkshire area and four in NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, up from the six across the two areas announced on Monday.

On Monday it was announced that Covid booster jags are being urgently extended to all adults aged 18 to 39, as well as severely immunosuppressed patients who have already received a third Covid vaccination to prevent a wave of the Omicron variant in Scotland ahead of Christmas.

The boosters will now be available from three months after a second or third primary dose, instead of the current six month timescale.

Children aged 12 to 15 will also be offered second Covid vaccinations.

Speaking on BBC's Good Morning Scotland on Tuesday, the Health Secretary said the vaccination booster programme will be accelerated but that workforce issues will be the “biggest constraining factor”.

Booster vaccinations are being extended to all those aged 18 and over in Scotland in line with the UK’s Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) recommendation, with the interval after the second dose cut from six to three months.

Mr Yousaf said: “We have adequate supply including with the most recent JCVI advice but the biggest constraining factor is workforce, we’d have to go from a position of administering around about 500,000 flu and booster vaccines, don’t forget we’re also doing flu vaccines, a week to around about 700,000 a week, that is before yesterday’s advice came in .

“Now with yesterday’s advice we suspect there’s an additional at least 1 million doses added to the eligibility criteria.”

He said authorities are working to ramp up the programme and “accelerate it as quickly as we possibly can”.

Mr Yousaf said that calls to reopen mass vaccination centres do not take account of the “challenges and complexities” of the vaccination programme, and authorities do not want to take NHS staff away from other important duties.

He told the programme: “The NHS is under significant pressure, what we don’t want to do is take people away from really core, important, significant duties – the NHS is already under significant pressure – and get them doing vaccinations.

“We will certainly do what we can. Before JCVI advice came out yesterday, just for the acceleration I spoke about, we’d need an additional 440 whole-time equivalents to help us with that vaccination programme.

“With JCVI advice yesterday that will significantly increase, so we’ll do what we can but of course additional premises are absolutely a part of the plan.”

When asked if there was any connection between the variant being found and COP26 or a recent South Africa rugby match Mr Yousaf said there appeared to be no connection.

He said: “There’s nothing that indicates these cases or this new variant has come via the rugby or Cop26 but that work of course is still ongoing .”