Coronavirus claims lives of another 46 people in Scotland

Nicola Sturgeon said a further 143 Covid-19 cases have been confirmed, taking the total to 14,260.

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Another 46 people have died with coronavirus in Scotland, the First Minister has said.

Nicola Sturgeon said a further 143 people had been diagnosed with the virus in the country in the last 24 hours, taking confirmed cases to 14,260.

The latest deaths takes the total among confirmed Covid-19 patients to 2053, but counting suspected coronavirus deaths the death toll is 3409.

Speaking at the Scottish Government’s daily press briefing on Friday, the FM said the overall number of patients in hospital with confirmed or suspected Covid-19 has fallen.

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The figure is down to 1449 – a drop of 31 and the lowest number recorded since April 3.

The number of patients in intensive care with Covid-19 or Covid-19 symptoms remains the same as Thursday, on 71.

A total of 3290 patients who had been hospitalised with coronavirus have been discharged and sent home since the outbreak began, the FM added.

She said the Scottish Government would “continue to monitor the evidence very closely” for when changes to the lockdown could be made.

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Sturgeon said that “as we hopefully see more evidence of a downward trend in the virus, we will then consider changes,” but stressed this would be done “on a very careful and gradual basis”.

The First Minister said: “When we know lives are at stake, and we have learned that over every day over these past seven or eight weeks as I have stood up up here day in and day out, and read out the numbers of people who have died, we do know that lives are at stake with this virus.

“For as long as that continues to be the case I am going to continue to err on the side of caution, err on the side of saving lives and reducing the number of people who might die unnecessarily.”

She highlighted Scottish Government polling which suggested overwhelming public support for the stance, with 84% agreeing any lifting of measures should be “slow and gradual”, the FM claimed.

Another 82% of Scots agree that before any further significant changes are made to ease restrictions, the impact of those already in place should be assessed, the survey indicated.

So far, the only measure Scotland has eased is in allowing people to go outside for exercise as often as they like, rather than the previous restriction of one a day.

A total of 86% agreed decisions on how and when to lift lockdown should be based on saving lives and protecting the NHS, Sturgeon added.#

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The First Minister said any possible changes to the lockdown would be set out in advance, with more information on the options to be shared with the public next week.

She told Scots: “We can’t live like this forever, so we need to get some normality back as we continue to suppress the virus.”

Sturgeon added: “Even when we can’t yet give firm dates on when things will open up again, at least we will seek to share with you the order of priority and further phasing.

“Next week I will share with you more information on the assessments we are making and the range of options we are now looking at, and also any further minor changes we might make in the short term.”