By Bill Heaney
The First Minister Nicola Sturgeon’s update on the coronavirus was revealed to the Scottish parliament and public on the internet earlier today.
Ms Sturgeon said: “I can report that, as at 9 o’clock this morning, 7,102 positive cases have been confirmed, which is an increase of 354 on the figures that were reported yesterday.
“A total of 1,799 patients are currently in hospital with either confirmed or suspected Covid-19, which is an increase of 51 on yesterday.
“As of last night, a total of 196 people were in intensive care with confirmed or suspected Covid-19, which is an increase of one on yesterday.
“I am afraid to say that in the past 24 hours, 80 deaths have been registered of patients who had been confirmed, through a test, as having the virus, which takes the total number of deaths in Scotland, under that measurement, to 779.
“Yet again, I extend my condolences to everyone who has lost a loved one, and I extend my thanks to all health and care workers and, indeed, to everyone who is keeping essential services going across the country.
“Notwithstanding that difficult and upsetting news, we firmly believe that the lockdown is having a positive effect.
“For example, although we still see fluctuations, we are not seeing, at this stage, significant or sustained increases in the number of people in hospital or in intensive care with the virus.
“However, we know that the lockdown measures take time to work, so we must continue to exercise caution in our predictions. We are by no means through this yet.”
Ms Sturgeon added then addressed the contentious issue of lockdown and how long it was likely to last.
She told Scottish Parliamentary party leaders: “I am as keen as anyone is to lift the restrictions, but I will not begin to do so until I am convinced that we have done as much as is necessary to suppress the virus and that we have a clear plan in place to continue to contain it once the measures start to be lifted.
“Over the next week or so, we will work to develop that plan and share the approach with members and the public.
“However, for now, my message continues to be: stay at home, except for the essential permitted purposes, and follow all the public health rules.
“That continues to be the way that we will slow down the spread of the virus and protect the national health service from being overwhelmed and, crucially, it is the best way to continue to save lives.”