Speaking at the Scottish Government’s daily briefing in St Andrew’s House, Nicola Sturgeon said that suppressing the spread of the virus was “going in the right direction” and Scots should feel “motivated into not going backwards”.
However she, and the National Clinical Director Professor Jason Leitch, again stressed their nervousness as pubs, restaurants and other communal businesses begin to reopen.
Her comments came as the latest figures from the National Records of Scotland showed that a total 4,187 deaths have now been registered in Scotland where coronavirus was mentioned on the death certificate – an increase of 13 deaths from the previous week.
However Ms Sturgeon said hospital admissions were down and “in the past 24 hours no deaths have been registered of a person who had been confirmed, through a test, of having a virus. That's the seventh day in a row in which no deaths have been recorded in our daily figures.
“Last week was the eleventh week in a row in which the number of deaths from Covid has fallen. They show that Covid is now being driven to very low levels in Scotland. We mustn’t forget that these numbers mean a tragedy for many people, a loss for families and friends."
But she added: “This is a good day today. it's the seventh day in a row we’ve reported no deaths and really positive news on hospital admissions. It’s going in the right direction.
“There are many businesses across the country opening their doors today for the first time and many of us as citizens will be able to do things for the first time today – or in the days to come – that we’ve not been able to do for months.
"It's a good day, a day we should feel positive. It should also be a motivational day, a day when we collectively resolve not to go backwards, that we’re going to continue with this progress and continue to see the good news we’ve reported today.”
Ms Sturgeon warned though that “the circumstances and outlook remain uncertain” and that “things can change very quickly”. “We’re trying to prepare as far as we can for the potential second wave in autumn and winter months but right now our immediate challenge is a resurgence of the first wave.
"The minute we lower our guard, or turn our back and think we can stop taking all these precautions it will spread again, quicker than any of us would like to contemplate. We will have to get comfortable with face coverings and used to living with these restrictions and with this advice.
"A lot of focus on the figures I give every day have been on deaths, but over this next period it’s the n umber of cases every day that we’re playing close attention to. If we start to see the sign of those increasing, it could be deaths three of four weeks from now. That nervousness is underlined with what we see in Australia, in California and in Israel. I don’t want to be the voice of doom but we must be so vigilant.”
Asked about people not keeping to social distancing rules in pubs and beer gardens, she said: “The rule is there for a reason and it’s about protecting people's health. Am I concerned about people not following the rules? Yes I am. That’s why I impress the point. I send that message to people using pubs as a customer, and to those running those businesses. If the virus spreads again, I’m going to be standing here in a few weeks time saying we’re shutting pubs and restaurants again. I really don't want to have to do that, but I will not hesitate to do it if it’s about saving lives.
“This is not a big bad government saying to people don't do things or do things, it’s all about lives. Everytime anyone of us deliberately or inadvertently breaches one of these rules then we provide this horrible deadly virus a bridge to jump across. Don't be that person that allows it to spread."
Ms Sturgeon also denied the government was looking at restricting the amount of alcohol people could buy in a pub.
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