THE REPORTED number of deaths of people in Scotland who tested positive for coronavirus has risen by 50 to 126, while the number of detected cases in Shetland remains at 30.
Announcing the figures, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said that there had only been 10 Covid-19 related deaths yesterday (Wednesday), but the extra numbers had been working through the system and it would be wrong to attribute them all to one day.
She said this afternoon (Thursday): “Every single death from this virus is a tragedy.”
And she emphasised everyone should stay home and socially distance themselves if they have to go out for food, medicine or essential work.
“I know how tough this is but please, please, stick with it, you are helping everyone to save lives,” she added.
Sturgeon outlined changes to the way deaths will be recorded – presumed Covid-19 deaths will be added to those confirmed by tests and produced by health boards.
The first minister, health secretary Jeane Freeman and chief medical officer Catherine Calderwood defended government policy that emphasises social distancing rather than testing as the prime way of combating spread of the virus.
But tests, which only work on those with symptoms of the virus, have been ramped up from 390/day to 1,900/day, with a capacity of 3,500/day planned for the end of April.
Scientists are also working on an antibody test which would be able to tell if someone, who is past the symptom stage, has had the disease.
In response to claims from the Royal College of Nursing that community nurses were being failed by the lack of personal protective equipment, Freeman said that over 50 million items had been distributed to medical and care staff and the government was working to secure as much supplies as possible.
She said that all medical and care staff working with people in the “extremely vulnerable” category should be wearing surgical masks and these should be made available for staff.
Highlands and Islands MSP Maree Todd, meanwhile, welcomed unanimous cross-party support for the Coronavirus (Scotland) Bill by the Scottish Parliament on Wednesday.
It offers tenants greater powers of protection by increasing the notice period plus adjustments to criminal procedure and other aspects of the justice system
Todd said: “In a time of financial uncertainty, I’m pleased to see that private and social tenants in the Highlands and Islands will be given increased protection from eviction.
“To relieve financial pressures further, under this bill, people and small businesses that are struggling to repay debts due to the outbreak will now be eligible to apply for a six-month ‘breathing space’ period.
“This is the most comprehensive piece of emergency legislation to ever be introduced to the Scottish Parliament and it is absolutely essential to ensure the Scottish Government’s response to Covid-19 remains a priority.
“There is no doubt that this will be a difficult period for everyone, but I’m reassured by the abundance of goodwill demonstrated in communities across the Highlands & Islands.
“We will get through this together – stay strong folks.”
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