PROGRESS BUT NO CAUSE TO CELEBRATE JUST YET

One death recorded with Covid-19 in last 24 hours

FM Nicola Sturgeon and CMO Dr Gregor Smith.

By Bill Heaney

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon today confirmed 18,259 people have now tested positive for Covid-19, an increase of eight from yesterday.

There are 785 patients in hospital with a suspected or confirmed case (a decrease of 100), with 17 being treated in intensive care (down two).

Since March 5, a total of 4,071 patients who had tested positive have now been discharged from hospital.

A further one person who tested positive has died in the last 24 hours, taking the total to 2,486 deaths in Scotland by that measure.

The first minister also confirmed there have been a total of 4,155 deaths according to NRS figures just published.

That figure is higher than the daily figure as it includes cases where Covid-19 is mentioned on a death certificate, even if the patient had not been tested.

The NRS revealed that there had been 35 deaths relating to Covid-19 between 22 and 28 June, a decrease of 14 from the previous week.

This is the ninth weekly reduction in a row, and the lowest weekly total since mid-March

Ms Sturgeon said deaths in care homes made up just under half of all Covid deaths last week.

The number of Covid deaths decreased from 20 the previous week to 16 in the most recent week.

The first minister told the media briefing in St Andrew’s House that the total number of deaths from last week from all causes, not just from Covid, was 20 below the five-year average.

This is the first time since March the total number of deaths has been below the five-year average, or in other words there were no excess deaths.

This told of “the real and sustained progress we are making in tackling Covid”. The first minister said in tomorrow’s briefing she hopes to confirm Scotland will go ahead with many of the phase two changes already signalled.

Ms Sturgeon said there is a careful return to some form of normality, but reminded people life should not feel like normal.

She said, from today, the Warmer Homes Scotland programme will resume, to tackle fuel poverty.

This was a sign that public services and economic activity “are starting up again”.

Wearing masks is to be compulsory in Scottish stores as shopping gets going.

Meanwhile, people should stick with the FACTS guidelines:

Face coverings in enclosed spaces

Avoid crowded places

Clean hands and surfaces regularly

Two metre distancing; and

Self-isolate and book a test if you have symptoms.

MASKS 7

The FM promised to reveal more tomorrow about the wearing of face coverings in shops.

Ms Sturgeon told reporters: “This has been an incredibly difficult time for children and young people.”

And pointed out that it has been tough not going to school and being restricted in how to meet up with friends.

This has led to challenges for parents and carers too, she added.

The first minister hoped to confirm tomorrow measures for a less frustrating summer holiday for children and young people.

The chief medical officer, Dr Gregor Smith, would also detail important changes to advice for children who are shielding.

The first minister closed by re-emphasising the key public health messages, pointing to a new cluster of cases in Dumfries and Galloway as a sharp reminder Covid is still out there.

Meanwhile, the LibDems are not so upbeat on the virus front.

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie has renewed his calls for ministers to initiate a rapid forward looking inquiry into Scotland’s preparedness for a second wave of Covid-19.

New statistics released today by the National Records of Scotland revealed that at the height of the pandemic coronavirus deaths accounted for 36% of all deaths. That figure has now reduced to 3%.

He said: “The coronavirus death count in Scotland has thankfully reduced significantly. Every life lost has been a tragedy and thousands of families are suffering. At this point we should be learning lessons, and quickly, so there aren’t any more.

“Scotland still lacks a comprehensive system of test, trace and isolate and we have no cure and no vaccine for COVID-19.

“We have real reason to be concerned about this virus rearing its head again – whether in the form of local flare-ups or a full-blown second wave – and we should be ready for it. 

“The best way to do that is to instigate a rapid forward-looking review. We should use this moment to reflect and learn lessons at pace so we are better prepared for whatever comes next.”

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