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Upbeat message from Nicola Sturgeon but she urges caution as well

By Scott Maclennan

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Nicola Sturgeon
Nicola Sturgeon

Scotland has recorded its first confirmed deaths from Covid-19 in four days while there has also been a spike in the number of hospitalisations of those suspected of having the virus.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon remained upbeat on the overall trends while acknowledging that though the three new confirmed deaths were anticipated came as a blow to what had been hoped for.

A large part of her briefing was given over to an impassioned plea for people “not to drop their guard” as the virus is steadily brought under control amid further outbreaks elsewhere like in Leicester.

Ms Sturgeon also confirmed that, with parliament now in recess, what she would be discussing at the briefings for the rest of the week:

Wednesday, she will report on the latest weekly statistics from the National Records of Scotland

Thursday, she hopes to confirm the changes already indicated for July 3 and July 6 – potential lift the travel distance limit for leisure, permission for self-catering accommodation to reopen, and then outdoor hospitality may be able to restart. MS Sturgeon will also discuss the advice on the reduction of two metre rule

Friday, a look ahead to the weekend, particularly in view of the changes to travel restrictions that are likely to take effect on that day

Ms Sturgeon said: “An additional ten positive cases were confirmed yesterday which takes the total now 18,251.

“A total 885 are now in hospital with either confirmed or suspected Covid-19 and that is actually an increase of 145 since yesterday but I want to stress that the increase is all in suspected cases.

“The number of confirmed cases actually fell by three so don't be too concerned by what appears to be a big headline increase.

“In the past 24-hours, I'm sorry to say that three deaths were registered of patients having been confirmed through a test as having Covid-19 in Scotland so the total number of deaths in Scotland under that measurement to 2485.

“After four consecutive days without any deaths being registered under that measurement, news of any deaths, though not unexpected, is also not what we want to hear.

“But it is still worth remembering and emphasizing the overall trend in Scotland’s figures – on this day last week I announced four deaths which took the total for the previous seven-days under our daily measurement 23 deaths.

“The three deaths that I announced today, take that seven-day total to nine – so that is a sustained and significant ongoing reduction and it is due to everybody.

“Today marks the 100th day of lockdown. It is worth looking back and remember where we were then if we went at the time when lockdown started Covid-19 starting to run out of control in Scotland.

“Because of that – two weeks after the start of lockdown in early April hospital admissions for the virus averaged over 200 admissions every single day.

“Two weeks after that Covid-19 deaths in Scotland, going by the wider national records of Scotland data, averaged more than 90 every single day.

“Today in our current position with hospital admissions averaging just four a day with consistently low numbers of new cases and with such a sharp reduction in death rates all of that is massive and it is very welcome progress.

“I believe we now have a genuine chance to come as close as it is possible to get to eliminating this virus in Scotland, we will then have to work to make sure if we can get to that level and keep it at that level.

“So this is a moment of great opportunity but it is also a time of very real danger, not to be negative but to be realistic and to seek to persuade you all that we still have to work very hard to make sure that we have made in recent weeks is not lost or even worse reversed.

“Some of the reports we are seeing from elsewhere in the UK and around the world right now underline that point – lockdown restrictions have just been reimposed in Leicester in England as a result of increased transmission.

“We are seeing increases in infection rates in other countries, some American states for example and in Melbourne in Australia and lockdown restrictions are being reimposed in these places too.

“My appeal to you today – and I cannot stress this enough – my appeal to you is do not drop your guard at this is a pivotal moment, do not become complacent, do not drift back to life exactly as normal, don't think that the risk of this virus has gone away because it hasn't.

“Please make sure you're doing everything you can, every single day, every time you go out to deny this virus the chance to spread.”

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