Coronavirus cases in Scotland increase

First minister Nicola Sturgeon confirms the latest coronavirus figures from Scotland

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The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Scotland has increased by 85 in a single day with 16 people having now died in total, the First Minister has confirmed.

Nicola Sturgeon announced at lunchtime today that a further two more people have died of the illness and said official figures remained ‘an underestimate’ of its spread.

She offered her condolences to families and hard-working NHS staff but said funerals are now being restricted to ‘immediate family only’.

The latest statistics for Scotland show that nearly 10,000 people have been tested. A total of 584 were found to be positive and 9,384 found to be negative.

The Highlands area accounts for 13 positive cases and the Borders 12 – the two lowest of Scotland’s 12 health boards.

Greater Glasgow and the Clyde has the highest positive cases with 183, according to official government figures.

Those who work in care or have ‘caring responsibilities,’ should continue to do so, said the First Minister, but should also implement social distancing and hand hygiene at all times, she told the chamber.

‘The overall message is very clear,’ said Mrs Sturgeon speaking at lunchtime.

‘People must stay at home. I know how hard this is for everybody but people should not be meeting friends, they should not be meeting family members who live outside of the home.

‘For all of us right now, life should not be feeling normal. If it is, then you are almost certainly not sticking to the rules we are asking people to abide by. I am confident the vast majority of people will abide by the rules.’

Later this week, the Scottish Parliament will bring forward emergency legislation to help with enforcement.

‘I want to be very clear we will use these powers if necessary,’ she said.

The ‘only permissible reasons’ for leaving home were shopping only once-a-day for ‘basic necessities’, to take an hour of exercise once a day alone or with people living in the same home, and not in groups.

Those needing to go out for medical reasons for themselves or to support a vulnerable people, and only ‘essential work,’ she told parliament.

‘All social events are now banned and public gatherings of two or more, excluding households or for essential work-related purposes, are also prohibited,’ she said in the address.