Coronavirus in Scotland: Cases rise by one fifth in past week due to faster Delta variant transmission rate

Covid cases in Scotland have risen by one fifth in the past week due to the faster transmission rate of the Delta variant, Nicola Sturgeon has said.

The First Minister points to the faster transmitting Delta variant as cases in Scotland have risen by more than one fifth in the last week, however hospital occupancy is now double what it was at the beginning of last month.

A total of 6,651 new cases have been reported in the last week compared to 5,475 in the week before.

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During the covid update on Tuesday, Nicola Sturgeon said this reflects the fact that the faster transmitting Delta variant of the virus is now common across Scotland.

Queues outside the vaccination centre in Govan at Govan Housing Association car park (Photo: John Devlin).

Yet, while there has been a more than five fold increase in cases since the start of May, hospital occupancy in Scotland is now around double what it was at the start of May.

Ms Sturgeon said: “That suggests that people are being discharged more quickly and spending, on average, less time in hospital than patients in earlier phases of the pandemic.

"Again, though, while that is encouraging, further analysis is needed to confirm this.”

A new study published by Edinburgh University suggested that the Delta variant is associated with a higher risk of hospitalisation than other variants.

However, it also showed that double dose vaccination continues to provide a high level of protection against infection with the virus.

Ms Sturgeon said: “This was underlined by another study published yesterday by Public Health England showing extremely strong protection against hospitalisation with Covid-19 after two doses of vaccine.

"In short, all of the evidence so far suggests that while it has not been completely broken yet, vaccination is weakening the link between the rise in new cases and a rise in hospitalisations and serious illness.”

The number of people being admitted to hospital with Covid has fallen from around 10% of reported positive cases at the start of the year, to around 5% now.

In the latest week, the highest number of new admissions was seen amongst people in their 30s and 40s.

The next highest number was of people in their 20s.

Ms Sturgeon said: “Now, we shouldn’t be complacent about hospitalisation for anyone, no matter their age.

"But the fact that more of the recent hospital admissions are in younger age groups may mean that fewer of the people being admitted are becoming seriously ill or requiring intensive care.”

Overall, the total number of positive cases reported yesterday was 974, representing five per cent of the total number of tests.

The total number of confirmed cases in Scotland is now 248,515.

A total of 137 people are currently in hospital – nine more than yesterday – and 17 people are in intensive care – the same as yesterday – with the virus.

Sadly, two deaths were reported yesterday taking the total number of deaths registered, under the daily definition, is now 7,683.

As of 7.30 this morning, 3,531,461 people in Scotland have received their first dose of the vaccine- an increase of 13,793 since yesterday.

A total of 23,347 people received their second dose yesterday, bringing the total number of second doses to 2,470,181.

However, because of a technical issue, the vaccination figures are “likely to under-report yesterday’s vaccination performance” according to the First Minister.

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