Scotland records highest ever number of new coronavirus cases

Another two people have died with the virus in Scotland while 486 new infections have been confirmed.

Scotland has recorded 486 new cases of coronavirus overnight, the highest figure on record.

Speaking at the Scottish Government’s Wednesday Covid-19 briefing, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon also confirmed two further deaths of patients with the virus.

She said while the number of new infections is the highest it has been during the pandemic, this is partly down to much greater levels of testing now.

The 486 new cases – of which nearly half, 224, are in the Greater Glasgow and Clyde area – amount to 7.8% of newly-tested Scots.

The First Minister said this is partly down to a “significant” outbreak at the University of Glasgow.

It comes after a ban on visiting other households was extended from seven council areas in the west of Scotland to the entire country.

The new restrictions also include a 10pm curfew on pubs and restaurants, which has been replicated in the rest of the UK.

Sturgeon noted it is six months to do the day since the full-scale national lockdown to tackle coronavirus was imposed across Britain.

She said she understood if people felt “down-hearted” about fresh restrictions on our lives and the rise in cases but insisted the country is in a better position than it was in the spring.

The two people with coronavirus who have died takes the total so far this week to three.

Separate figures by National Records of Scotland which count all deaths where Covid-19 was cited as a leading or contributory cause show 11 fatalities in the week ending September 20 involving the virus.

While the Scottish Government’s daily statistics only count people who died within 28 days of their positive coronavirus test, the NRS include those who died after that 28-day period and those who were suspected of having Covid without being tested.

Of the 11 deaths registered with NRS last week, eight occurred in hospitals and three happened in care homes.

On the Scottish Government’s metric, confirmed coronavirus deaths now stand at 2508.

But using both sets of figures suggests the most up-to-date death toll in Scotland is 4250.

There are now 83 people in hospital with coronavirus, a rise of ten in 24 hours.

Of those, ten patients are being treated with intensive care, which is unchanged.

The First Minister indicated her government was “hamstrung” by the UK Government from imposing tougher restrictions that could have been placed on hospitality in Tuesday’s announcement due to a lack of financial powers to support the sector without UK help.

Among key concerns, she said, was the lack of a extension or replacement for the furlough scheme, due to expire in October, which has supported hundreds of thousands of Scottish jobs in recent months.

The First Minister said she would be writing to the Prime Minister on the issue asking for an extension of the scheme or an extension of powers to the devolved administrations.

She said: “We mustn’t be hamstrung in essential public health decisions by the lack of necessary economic mitigations.

“All four UK nations agreed a joint statement to the effect that we would focus our efforts ‘on suppressing the virus to the lowest possible level and keeping it there’ and that is really positive.

“It puts aside forever the idea that we can just let this virus run, because we know it does real damage in lives and in health.”

Sturgeon added: “There is an argument… that all of us across the UK should actually be doing even more right now and there is a danger that what starts to hold us back is not the public health analysis but financial limitations.”

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