‘Nobody is immune from coronavirus’ warns Nicola Sturgeon

Nicola Sturgeon has warned Scots that “nobody is immune” from coronavirus, as new figures revealed the number of deaths recorded north of the Border from Covid-19 is fast approaching 400.

Nicola Sturgeon has warned Scots that “nobody is immune” from coronavirus, as new figures revealed the number of deaths recorded north of the Border from Covid-19 is fast approaching 400.

At her daily briefing in Edinburgh on Wednesday, the First Minister said that while the majority of people who have died after contracting the virus were aged 75 and over, evidence proved it could infect all age groups.

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Ms Sturgeon was speaking on the day the National Records of Scotland (NRS) published the first of a weekly series of reports, which will count all deaths where Covid-19 is listed as being relevant on death certificates.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon was speaking at her daily media conference

The NRS recorded 354 deaths in the period from March 16 to April 5 - a significantly higher total than the figure previously announced for that same period of 220 deaths.

The figures published daily by the Scottish Government show only the number of patients who have tested positive in hospital for coronavirus, and those of whom have subequently died.

The NRS report aims to provide a more detailed picture of the virus’ impact, by including deaths outside of hospital.

It showed a large spike in Covid-19 related deaths in the week beginning March 30, a trend which health officials will be examining closely.

People in the 75 to 84 age range were the most affected, but four people in the 15 to 44 age range also died.

The NRS’s statistics have more detail on the age and gender of those involved. Of the 354 deaths, 197 were male and 157 were female.

Four people who died were aged between 15 and 44, and 44 were aged 45-64. The rest of the deaths - accounting for more than 85% of the total - were among those aged over 65.

Interim chief medical officer Dr Gregor Smith said the data would help the Scottish Government understand better how the virus is spreading across Scotland and how to respond to it.

The First Minister said: “These new weekly figures include more detailed information than previously.

“These breakdowns show that those who are older are more likely to die of Covid-19 but they show that nobody is immune, so everybody should follow the instructions.”

She continued: “This information is also essential to help us understand who is most severely impacted by the virus and where there are any hotspots. It also helps us plan for beds in hospitals and when the peak is likely to pass.

“I understand that the figures can make us feel powerless and something we can’t see or feel is taking lives but by following the rules and by self-isolating, all of us can help to reduce the number of deaths.”

A total of 366 deaths from Covid-19 were announced yesterday, the highest daily total yet. The First Minister said the difference in the two figures is partly down to a time lag, as well as the differences in recording methods.

Asked about speculation that stricter lockdown measures on outdoor exercise could see parks closed to the public, Ms Sturgeon said: “I am acutely aware of how tough these measures are for people who don’t have gardens and that’s particularly true for those with children.

“That’s why it’s really important, as we give tough advice to stay at home, we do stress the value of getting outside for fresh air and exercise once a day.

“But we need to say that while they are outside for essential purposes, the advice about not gathering in groups outside your household remains really important.

“The more people comply, the quicker we will get to a point where we can lift this. Please stick with it, no matter how hard it feels.”

“I hope we don’t have to take more restrictive measures.”

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