Virus cases in Scotland hit new high

First minister Nicola Sturgeon has confirmed the latest coronavirus figures from Scotland

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The number of positive cases of coronavirus in Scotland has passed the 3,000 mark, the First Minister has revealed this lunchtime.

It represents a jump of nearly 400 on Thursday, April 2, Nicola Sturgeon told a news conference.

A further 46 people in Scotland have died from COVID-19 bringing the total in the country so far to 172, she said.

A total of 176 people are being held in intensive care across Scotland with either confirmed or suspected coronavirus – an increase of 14 on yesterday.

In total, 1,321 people are in hospital generally with coronavirus or are suspected to have the illness.

In the NHS Highland area there are now 72 confirmed cases and in the Western Isles cases remain at three.

Testing is going to be increased across Scotland as the month goes on, and the First Minister urged those people in the high-risk category to respond to letters from the NHS.

‘You may not feel you need help right now but responding now will help us keep in touch with you later on,’ she said.

Mrs Sturgeon said Scotland faced an Easter week ‘unlike any we have known in our lifetimes’.

She said she knew ‘how hard’ it was for people who had breaks and visits to family and friends lined up that they could now not undertake.

But she said the lockdown restrictions were ‘absolutely essential’ in order to contain the spread of the deadly virus in Scotland.

Learning and childcare centres for the children of key workers would remain open in many places during Easter week but she cautioned that ‘times, centres and the range of support’ could vary.

Of media reports today that Scotland ‘could see a peak within a week,’ she suggested that these were well wide of the mark.

‘Nothing I have seen give me any basis whatsoever that the virus will peak in a week’s time,’ said Mrs Sturgeon.

‘I don’t want people to have a false expectation based on what they might be seeing in today’s media.’

She also paid tribute to those in food, drink and agriculture who were not having an ‘easy time’ under the restrictions.