Coronavirus: 40 more dead as cases rise to 6358 in Scotland

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon confirmed the death toll in Scotland from Covid-19 now stands at 615.

Coronavirus: 40 more dead as cases rise to 6358 in Scotland Getty Images

A further 40 people have died from coronavirus in Scotland, the Scottish Government has confirmed.

It brings the Scottish death toll from Covid-19 to 615.

The number of confirmed positive cases in Scotland stands at 6358 – an increase of 291 from 6067 the day before.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon confirmed the rise during a briefing at St Andrew’s House in Edinburgh on Tuesday.

A total of 196 patients are currently in intensive care.

Care homes are a cause of concern for the Scottish Government, the First Minister said.

Sturgeon said residents are more likely to be badly affected by the virus, and international evidence suggests that outbreaks are more likely in residential care settings.

However, she added that work was being undertaken to monitor and counter the effects of the virus in such settings, which includes the Care Inspectorate ensuring that measures in care homes are up to date and being adhered to.

The First Minister announced plans to invest a further £1m in services to support mental health, on top of a commitment of £3.3m made in recent weeks.

She said the increase in funding would allow for the expansion of the use of distress brief interventions (DBIs), as well as pay for a Scotland-wide marketing campaign.

DBIs allow adults in emotional distress to speak to mental health workers.

Sturgeon added: “Crucially, the service allows people to talk to the same person several times over days or weeks and for some people, we know that the ability to establish a rapport with those helping them can make a big difference.”

The DBI scheme has been working in four pilot areas since 2017 and will now be expanded across the country.

The First Minister also said that reports of personal protective equipment (PPE) distribution being concentrated in England were of concern to the Scottish Government.

She added that her government would investigate the reports, which clinical director Professor Jason Leitch said was “rubbish” on Good Morning Scotland on Tuesday.

The First Minister said: “I want to be clear about my view, and I hope that no one thinks this is in any way a point of a political nature, it is a point about fairness and cooperation as all of us deal with the challenge of this virus.

“All parts of the UK are facing supply challenges on PPE, indeed this is a global issue, so any situation where supplies were being diverted from one part of the UK to the other without consultation or any sense of cooperation would clearly be unconscionable and unacceptable.”

Health secretary Jeane Freeman said she has told her counterpart in the UK Government that she did not give her permission for PPE to be diverted from Scotland.

She said: “As the First Minister has said, we are urgently seeking clarity on this situation.”

Ms Freeman said that UK health secretary Matt Hancock cancelled a planned call between the two on Tuesday, so she instead wrote to him.

She added: “He specifically does not have my agreement to the centralisation of ordering or distribution of PPE or to the diversion of orders placed in Scotland for destination to Scottish social care or the NHS.”

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