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Three more deaths from coronavirus have been recorded in Scotland over the last 24 hours.
It follows four consecutive days without any deaths at all, and means confirmed cases of Covid in Scotland have claimed the lives of 2,485 people.
Speaking 100 days since the lockdown was announced, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said: ‘I know that, after four consecutive days without any deaths being registered, news of any deaths, while not unexpected, is not what we want to hear.’
She sent her condolences to those grieving and said the overall downward trend of cases in Scotland would be no comfort to those who had lost loved ones.
Overall, Scotland’s seven day total of deaths has fallen from 23 to nine week-on-week, which she hailed as a ‘sustained and significant ongoing reduction’.
Ten positive cases were confirmed yesterday, taking the total in Scotland to 18,251.
A total of 885 patients remain in hospital with either confirmed or suspected Covid.
That is an increase of 145 on yesterday – all in suspected cases – while the number of confirmed cases fell by three.
Nineteen people were in intensive care last night with confirmed or suspected Covid, which is up nine on yesterday.
Again, the increases are all in suspected cases, she said.
Hospital admissions across Scotland now average at just four a day, she said.
Mrs Sturgeon said: ‘We now have a genuine chance to come as close as is possible to eliminating the virus in Scotland. Of course we will then have to work to ensure we keep it at those levels.’
But she warned that lockdown restrictions had been reimposed in Leicester and infection rates were on the rise in US states, and also Melbourne, Australia.
‘I don’t say any of this to depress anyone – but as a very loud reminder that the virus has not gone away.
‘It is still present – which is why we are still seeing some new cases in Scotland. It is just as infectious and dangerous as it ever was. And it will come back hard if we let it,’ she said.
‘Opening up a bit more, at a time when the daily statistics are looking so positive, there is a real risk that people will let down their guard.
‘There is a danger that it will seem as though life is getting back to normal. And I want to stress right now, life can’t and shouldn’t get completely back to normal yet, because the virus is still there.’
A public health campaign called FACTS has been launched summarising five key things people should remember.
· Face coverings should be worn in enclosed spaces such as shops and public transport
· Avoid crowded places
· Clean your hands and hard surfaces regularly
· Two metre distancing remains the rule
· Self isolate and book a test if you have symptoms
Mrs Sturgeon said: ‘My appeal to you today, and I cannot stress this enough, do not drop your guard. Do not become complacent. Do not drift back to life exactly as normal.’