Coronavirus in Scotland: Nicola Sturgeon reports 22 new positive cases

The First Minister addressed the country from St Andrew’s house in Edinburgh.

An outbreak at a call centre has been responsible, at least in part, for 22 coronavirus cases being recorded in one day, Nicola Sturgeon has said.

Speaking at the first Scottish Government coronavirus briefing of the week, the First Minister said the majority of new positive cases are in Lanarkshire.

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She confirmed no new deaths have been recorded of people who have tested positive for Covid-19 in the past 24 hours.

There have been 22 new cases across ScotlandThere have been 22 new cases across Scotland
There have been 22 new cases across Scotland

Ms Sturgeon said all new cases are being looked into and steps taken to trace contacts and break the chains of transmission.

"A health board breakdown of these cases will be available later today as normal," she said.

"However, the provisional information I have is that the majority of these cases are in Lanarkshire and at least some of them are likely to be connected to the outbreak at the Sitel call centre that had been doing work for NHS England.

"I will chair a Scottish Government resilience meeting later this afternoon to consider the latest situation in Lanarkshire and also to consider any further steps that may be required."

The health board breakdown published at 2pm shows cases in Lanarkshire have risen by 14 between Monday and Tuesday, from 2,748 to 2,762.

Six cases were reported on Sunday within the call centre at Eurocentral business park north of Bellshill, which is working on Test and Trace cases for NHS England, rising to eight on Monday night.

One worker, now in quarantine after testing positive for Covid-19, said staff would breach social distancing guidelines.

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Ms Sturgeon said she was "concerned" about that, adding: "We all have to constantly remind ourselves of the importance of this in our own social interactions."

But she added: "But we also have an expectation of businesses and employers that they will make sure that these pieces of advice are being followed rigorously, for the protection and wellbeing of their own staff but also to avoid the kind of situation that we appear to have here in Lanarkshire of a workplace cluster of cases.

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"There is a real responsibility to make sure all the relevant guidance and all the relevant guidelines are followed."

Ms Sturgeon told the briefing 18,474 people have tested positive for Covid-19 in Scotland.

No deaths of people who tested positive for the virus were recorded between Monday and Tuesday, meaning the toll remains at 2,941.

She addressed the rise in the number of new cases in recent days, with 21 new cases reported on Saturday, 23 on Sunday, falling to seven on Monday then rising to 22 on Tuesday.

She said: "These figures are a sharp reminder of something that you've heard me say on a regular basis in Scotland - that the virus is still there.

"That said, a great deal of work is being done, not least through Test and Protect, to understand all of these cases, follow up contacts of them and make sure that all necessary and appropriate steps are being taken to break the chains of transmission."

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She added: "We all have a part to play in keeping this virus under control."

The First Minister reiterated the importance of hygiene measures and asked Scots to look at their own actions to see if they have "dropped their guard".

She urged people to avoid creating "bridges" to allow the virus to cross between households.

The First Minister also told the briefing 618 people were in hospital with suspected or confirmed Covid-19 in hospital as of Monday evening, up 51 in 24 hours.

Of these, 20 were in intensive care, up 10 from the previous day.

Ms Sturgeon said the Scottish Government will no longer report those in hospital or intensive care with suspected cases of Covid-19 and will only publicise those which have been confirmed by a test.

She said elderly patients in hospital are tested every four days and are considered suspected cases until their test results come back, regardless of symptoms.

It is important Scottish Government statistics present "the most reliable and comprehensive picture of how the virus is behaving", she said.

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It was also announced children under five who are displaying potential coronavirus symptoms will become eligible for testing from Wednesday.

Reporting by PA

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