Coronavirus: Older Scots most at risk from deadly virus, says Health Secretary Jeane Freeman

Jeane Freeman also confirmed everyone who came into contact with Scotland's first patient has been traced

Scottish Health Secretary Jeane Freeman has told MSPs that as many as 80% of Scots could become infected with the Covid 19 virus.

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Of those, around 4% may need to be hospitalised and an estimated 1% could die.

The figures come from the Strategic Advisory Group of Experts (SAGE) on Immunization.

Addressing members at Holyrood, Ms Freeman said: "It is important to stress that this does not represent a predication or a forecast but it is sensible modelling based on available data which allows us to plan for the worst case."

"This modelling will be continually updated as we learn more about the virus.

"The vast majority of those infected by the virus will have mild symptoms, will not require hospital treatment will be able to return to their normal lives within a week to 10 days."

Scottish Health Secretary Jeane Freeman spoke to MSPs at Holyrood today. Picture: PA

Most at risk

The Health Secretary continued to explain that older Scots are most at risk.

"From our understanding, those of us who are older or have underlying health issues will be at a greater risk of being more unwell than others.

"We also know that as the number of cases rise there will be an impact on our working population unable to work wither because they are unwell themselves or are caring for family members who are.

'Spread extensively'

"This is a new virus for which we currently have no immunity and for which we have no vaccine. That means Covid 19 has the potential to spread extensively."

The first Scottish case of the virus which originated in Wuhan, China, was confirmed on Sunday. The patient who is from the Tayside are was isolated and is 'clinically well'.

Ms Freeman added that the person had a history of travel and is being treated as a precautionary measure.

She also confirmed that work to trace everyone who came into contact with the patient has now been competed.

Resilience room

The Scottish Government has 'activated' the Scottish Government Resilience Room to coordinate Scotland's response to Covid 19.

The Health Secretary said there are four parts to Scotland's coronavirus strategy: contain the virus with early detection, delay the spread of the disease, research a vaccine and mitigate the impact on society.

She added that good respiratory care and hand washing are essential to quell the outbreak, citing the 'Catch it, Bin it, Kill it' slogan.

Acute beds issue

Conservative MSP Mile Briggs raised concerns that 2.762 beds have been lost in NHS Scotland and asked if the government is considering recommissioning beds.

Ms Freeman said she would brief opposition party health spokespeople after parliamentary questions.


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