Scotland heading for return to Covid peak of spring

Scotland is heading for the same levels of Covid infection as recorded during the March peak by the end of this month, the national clinical director has warned.

Jason Leitch explained scientific advice
Jason Leitch explained scientific advice

It came as the number of positive cases recorded in the past 24 hours hit a record 1,246, with a further six deaths. There are also now almost 400 people in hospital, the latest daily figures show.

It is now hoped the package of measures focusing on pub and restaurant closures being implemented from this weekend will arrest the rising tide of the cases and avoid a return to the spring high.

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Professor Jason Leitch explained why scientific advisors had recommended the First Minister impose the latest package of restrictions.

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He warned that Scotland is four weeks behind France where severe lockdown restrictions have been re-imposed after death rates soared.

The "R' number here is somewhere between 1.3 and 1.7, the medic added

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"The doubling time in Scotland is nine days, " he said.

"That means 1,000 cases today becomes 2,000 cases, with no mitigation nine days from now.

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"We estimate there are 2,900 new infection per day. Remember quite a lot of infections feel nothing or feel very mild symptoms and are not always tested.

"At this rate with no further action, we will be at our March peak of new infections per day by the end of October."

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There were 1,728 new cases in the week to Wednesday in Greater Glasgow and Clyde, 943 in Lothian and 825 in Lanarkshire.

"The Central Belt is responsible for around 75 per cent of new cases," Professor Leitch said.

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Across the whole of Scotland, the seven day average rate is now 82.8 per 100,000, while the 18 deaths up to this Wednesday is the same figure for the whole of the previous month.

Worryingly, the virus is now reaching older Scots who are more vulnerable to death or serious illness. It has increased by 60 per cent among over-80s and by 120 per cent in 60 to 79-year-olds in recent weeks.

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"Over all this data and our investigations, our advice to the First Minister and the Cabinet was that without further action new infections were likely to continue to increase to levels that would put our National Health Service and our population at risk," Prof Leitch said.

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