More than 500 Covid deaths since week before Christmas

Scotland records highest daily number of cases since the pandemic began.

More than 500 deaths linked to coronavirus have been recorded in Scotland since December 21 last year.

At the Scottish Government’s Covid-19 briefing on Thursday, Nicola Sturgeon confirmed a further 78 people had died.

That takes the number of confirmed and suspected coronavirus deaths between December 21 and January 7 to 540.

Total confirmed cases of the virus have risen to 143,715 – a jump of 2649 in the past 24 hours, which is the highest number of daily cases recorded since the start of the pandemic.

The official death toll in Scotland currently stands at 4779. But weekly figures released by the National Records of Scotland, which include all deaths where coronavirus was suspected of being a leading or contributory factor, suggest the most up-to-date total is at least 6686.

According to NHS boards across Scotland, 1467 people are in hospital with confirmed or suspected Covid-19 – an increase of 83 overnight. Out of those, 100 patients are in intensive care.

Sturgeon said: “This number pretty closely now matches the numbers that were in hospital at the peak of the first wave back in April.

“The intensive care number is still well below the peak that we saw back in April, but nevertheless I want to stress the pressure on our IC units is increasing and total intensive care occupancy, which will be Covid and non-Covid patients in intensive care, is now above normal capacity across the country.”

Of the new cases reported on Thursday, 660 are in the Greater Glasgow and Clyde region, 389 are in Lanarkshire, 357 are in Lothian and 302 are in Tayside.

The rest of the cases are spread out across nine other health board areas.

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