Coronavirus claims lives of another 37 people in Scotland

The death toll among confirmed Covid-19 patients is 2221, but counting suspected cases it is more than 3600.

Coronavirus: Nicola Sturgeon announces latest figures. Getty Images
Coronavirus: Nicola Sturgeon announces latest figures.

Another 37 people with coronavirus have died in Scotland, the First Minister has said.

It takes the death toll among confirmed Covid-19 patients to 2221, but counting suspected cases it is more than 3600.

Speaking in a statement to MSPs, Nicola Sturgeon said there have been 105 new positive cases of the virus in the last 24 hours.

It takes total confirmed cases of coronavirus in Scotland to 14,856, although this is an underestimate.

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The number of people in hospital with confirmed or suspected Covid-19 has fallen by 125 overnight to 1318.

Intensive care patients with the virus or symptoms of the virus have fallen by two to 51.

Addressing parliament on the Scottish Government’s plan to gradually ease the lockdown, Sturgeon said the current mid-level estimate is that around 25,000 Scots are currently infectious.

The latest estimate of the reproduction rate – or R number – for the virus, remained between 0.7 and one, she said, adding that and the number would be published every Thursday from now on.

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In March, the R number was estimated to have been four, meaning for every person with the virus, another four people were being infected.

When the R number is below one, the rate of spread of the disease is limited.

It comes after figures from National Records of Scotland showed weekly coronavirus-linked deaths had fallen for three weeks in a row, to 332, while deaths in care homes are also falling.

But the First Minister said: “The total number of Covid deaths… is still far too high.

“And although we estimate that the R number is below one, the range has not changed this week, and there is still uncertainty about just how far below one it is.

“It may also still be slightly above other parts of the UK.”

However, she said she believed it was time to begin a “careful” easing of lockdown measures, with two households allowed to meet outside provided they socially distance, perhaps as early as next week.

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The government next reviews the lockdown on May 28.

Sunbathing, fishing, some outdoor non-contact sports like tennis and golf and travelling a short distance for recreation will also be allowed within days of that review.

Construction work will be allowed to resume, garden centres will be able to reopen and drive-through food and drink outlets will be permitted to gradually reopen.

The First Minister also said a “phased resumption” of aspects of the criminal justice system will begin, along with a gradual restart of NHS services like cancer screenings, which were paused due to the pandemic.

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