Weekly deaths related to coronavirus in Scotland have fallen to below 50, their lowest level since before lockdown.
Deaths have now dropped every week for the past two months, with a total of 49 confirmed or presumed Covid-19 deaths registered in the week ending June 21.
New National Records of Scotland (NRS) data shows a death toll from the pandemic of 4119, with eight additional deaths reported this week, taking the total to 4127.
Unlike the daily Scottish Government figures, the NRS includes any deaths where Covid-19 was cited on the death certificate, including suspected cases.
The daily statistics only count those confirmed to have coronavirus through a lab test.
The weekly deaths figure of 49 is a drop of 20 on the week before – the eighth weekly decline in a row – and down from a peak of 656 during a week in late April.
Overall, 47% of registered Covid fatalities relate to deaths in care homes, with 46% of deaths in hospitals and 7% at home or another setting.
Deaths in care homes accounted for 41% of all coronavirus-linked deaths in the week from June 15 to June 21, down from 50% the week and from a peak of 60%.
Deaths involving the virus accounted for 5% of all deaths registered in the week ending June 21, down from a high of 36%.
More than three quarters (77%) of all deaths involving Covid19 to date were of people aged 75 or over.
Between March 16 and June 21, the total number of excess deaths in Scotland – measuring deaths against the average over the last five years – was 4917.
Those include 2463 excess deaths in care homes, 72% higher than the average, 2329 excess deaths at home or other settings, 58% above average, and 133 excess deaths in hospitals.
That’s just 2% above the five-year average, but a decrease from an early peak during this three-month period.
Speaking at First Minister’s Questions on Wednesday, Nicola Sturgeon confirmed 880 patients are in hospital overall with Covid or Covid symptoms, a rise of 15.
Of those, 23 are in intensive care, an increase of two on the day before, but down from an April peak of 221.
More than 4000 people hospitalised with the virus have been able to go home to continue their recovery.
Just nine new cases of coronavirus have been confirmed in the last 24 hours, the lowest daily figure since March 11.
The First Minister said that despite the positive trends in the virus in recent weeks, it is still expected to “pose a real and significant threat for some time to come”.
She added: “We must keep working to drive it down further, towards the point of elimination – because that then gives us the best chance of keeping it under control through testing, surveillance, contact tracing and the application of targeted suppression measures when necessary.”
NRS director of statistical services, Pete Whitehouse, said: “These statistics represent the heartbreak of many families across the country who have lost loved ones and every death from this virus is a tragedy.
“Producing these statistics, alongside the other important evidence being made available by the Scottish Government and Health Protection Scotland (HPS), provides vital information to help understand the progression and impact of the virus in Scotland.
“Since the peak in mid-April, the number of registered Covid-19 related deaths has fallen for eight successive weeks.
“In the week ending June 21, 49 Covid-19 related deaths were registered, representing the second smallest weekly total since the start of the pandemic in Scotland.”
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