VIRUS: ONE MINUTE’S SILENCE AT 11am TOMORROW

Further 13 deaths from Covid-19

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and Chief Medical Officer Gregor Smith.

By Bill Heaney

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon confirmed today that 10,521 people have tested positive for Covid-19, an increase of 197 from yesterday.

There are 1,762 patients are in hospital with a suspected or confirmed case (up 27), with 134 being treated in intensive care (up one).

Since 5 March, 2,380 people who tested positive have been released from hospital.

A further 13 people who tested positive for coronavirus have died, taking the total to 1,262 deaths in Scotland.

She pointed out that there are some delays to registration of deaths at weekends, and these figures may be higher in the coming days.

Meanwhile, interim chief medical officer Dr Gregor Smith says colleagues are seeing an increase in the number of people attending health services with cardiac or stroke symptoms.

He welcomed this and urged anyone with chest pains, new muscle weakness or difficulty speaking to get help.

Dr Smith said too that more people are presenting to A&E after accidents.

He urged people to take extra care on roads and follow all safety advice if undertaking DIY projects are home.

“We now need to ensure that everyone who needs care is receiving it,” he told the daily press briefing at St Andrew’s House in Edinburgh.

And he advised the public that avoidable injuries should be kept to a minimum.

Ms Sturgeon says Skills Development Scotland have updated their World of Work website to help people find new courses.

These courses involved digital tuition and other skills – “They will be expanded in the coming months. And although doing courses like this may not be an option for everyone, if you are caring for someone for example, it could make sense to learn new skills at this time, if you have been furloughed.

“The courses are open to everyone – and they are FREE,” she said.

The First Minister warned that lockdown lifting was still a long way off – “People should not be going out and about more now. A premature lifting of restrictions would lead to more damage to the economy. Businesses should not contemplate opening unless they can ensure social distancing at all times and meeting all the guidelines.

“People should not be going out and about more than at the beginning of the lockdown. This gets more difficult with every day that passes but the restrictions are essential.”

She added: “This is certainly not a time to throw caution to the wind. There is evidence the efforts of the public are making a real difference, but this progress remains very fragile. This is certainly not a time to throw caution to the wind.”

The reproduction rate – the number of new cases generated by each case – could rise again above one, increasing the spread and leading to more deaths, she warned. “All of the restrictions need to stay in place for now.  The job is not done yet. Lifting the restrictions will not be the flick of a switch but be gradual.”

The FM pledged to say more about this issue in the coming days. The NHS has not been overwhelmed. We are now seeing some real signs of progress.

“The number of people in intensive care has fallen by about a third in the last fortnight. The number of people in hospital has broadly stabilised and the trend may well be a downward one.  The number of daily deaths has yet to decline, she said, but I’m hopeful to see that happen in the next couple of weeks.”

Meanwhile, along with the rest of Scotland, the Holyrood parliament is to hold minute’s silence to honour frontline staff

Tomorrow on International Workers Day the Scottish Parliament will at 11am, honour those frontline workers who have lost their lives tackling this pandemic.

The silence will provide an opportunity to pay tribute to those who have died helping others, Nicola Sturgeon said, adding that the government’s primary obligation is to keep health and care workers safe, and she pledged to do that.

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