59 MORE DIE BUT LOCKDOWN WILL NOT BE LIFTED

We shall not be moved until the danger has passed, says Nicola

Artwork by Gemma Woods Fraser

By Bill Heaney

Another 59 people have died in Scotland with Covid-19 virus, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced today.

But the lockdown will not be lifted and only marginally eased here by letting people take a little more exercise and fresh air.

Ms Sturgeon was adamant. “To drop the stay at home message right now would be potentially catastrophic.  The decisions we take now in this regard are literally a matter of life and death.  Extreme caution at this critical junction is what is required.”

The so-called R-number which indicates how many people would be affected if they were to come into contact with an affected person was critical, she said..

At the moment it appeared to be around one or just below that, but if the lockdown were lifted it could go back up again and potentially put the country back where it’s just been.

The 59 deaths in the last 24 hours takes the death toll of confirmed coronavirus patients to 1762, but counting suspected cases the total is nearly 3000.

Speaking at the Scottish Government’s daily press briefing, Nicola Sturgeon also said there had been a rise of 215 positive cases, taking Scotland’s total there to 12,924.

She sent her condolences to all those who have lost ones, but also highlighted signs of “progress” in the figures around hospital and intensive care (ICU) admissions.

A total of 1587 people are in hospital overall in Scotland with confirmed or suspected Covid-19 – a drop of 45 overnight.

Just 86 people are being treated in ICUs for the virus – a decrease of three – down from a peak of 221 in mid-April.

And a total of 2954 patients who had coronavirus have been able to leave hospital and go home since the outbreak began, Ms Sturgeon said.

The First Minister referred to press reports that the UK Government wants to begin easing lockdown measures from Monday.

She would be having a meeting with PM Boris Johnston before that however and before he makes his pronouncement on that matter.

Proposals mooted by the PM include allowing unlimited exercise, beer gardens to open and encouraging more people back to work, but what’s allowed in England does not necessarily apply in Scotland.

The FM said while the Scottish Government is considering allowing more frequent outdoor exercise, the other reported moves would “not be safe for us to make yet” in Scotland.

She said while “really significant progress” was being made in curbing coronavirus, the situation “remains fragile”.

It is becoming clearer by the hour that the Covid-19Scotland are ‘unlikely’ to lift lockdown, even if the UK does.

Deputy first minister John Swinney has said it’s ‘unlikely’ there will be changes to Scotland’s lockdown measures on Monday.

John Swinney was speaking on Radio Scotland’s Drivetime with John Beattie when he claimed the Scottish Government had seen no evidence that made it likely there would be changes north of the border.

It would be the first major divergence between Scotland and the rest of the UK on measures designed to tackle the coronavirus outbreak.

Mr Swinney said: “I don’t know what the PM intends to announce on Sunday or Monday.

“I have no idea what the Prime Minister will say but what I’m saying from the Scottish Government perspective on the information we have available to us is that it is unlikely we can make any particular changes to the existing arrangements we have in place.”

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