Nicola Sturgeon: Scotland now at 'perilous point' in Covid second wave

Scotland is now at a "perilous point" as the second wave of Coronavirus continues to sweep the country and hospital admissions escalate, Nicola Sturgeon has said.

Tuesday, 13th October 2020, 6:12 pm
Nicola Sturgeon at today's briefing
Nicola Sturgeon at today's briefing

The First Minister insisted that the virus is not yet “out of control” but called on Scots to prepare to self-isolate if they adopt symptoms or get contacted by public health chiefs.

It comes as almost 1300 fresh cases of Coronavirus were reported today, with seven new deaths from the virus.

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More than 17% of Scots being tested now have the virus - three times the World Health Organisation (WHO) threshold of 5% for having it at a manageable level.

"I'm the last person that's going to try to minimise the challenge we face," Ms Sturgeon told the daily Coronavirus briefing today.

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"I don't think it's true to say it's out of control, we're still working to break trains of transmission and to slow down the transmission. But we are at a very perilous point in this journey. We all need to do what is asked of us and we need to make sure that we are abiding by all the rules.

"The difference between where are now - which is a virus which is accelerating again but not our of control and one that is running out of control is often a very fine one."

She added; "We have an R number which is higher than we want it to be, we have doubling (of cases) which is shorter than we want it to be."

Case numbers per 100,000 do remain lower than many other parts of the UK and the R number remains well below earlier in the year when it reached 3.

But hospital cases topped 500 today, having been below 50 just a few weeks ago. Ms Sturgeon admitted the rate of increase is a concern as hospital capacity sits at over 80% in line with normal levels.

"That means that all the contingencies that hospitals and health boards do to make sure they can treat non-Covid patients and maintain capacity to deal with Covid patients, these are all under very active consideration," she said.

The NHS Louisa Jordan in Glasgow, specifically constructed this year to deal with the pandemic has not yet been put on alert, Ms Sturgeon went on.

But she added: "We will be monitoring very carefully the position with hospital admissions to make sure that all of the things we need to do to make sure we enable our hospitals to cope - and should we need extra resource to have that available - all of that is under active consideration and monitoring."

Acting chief medical officer Gregor Smith added: "I fully expect that hospital admissions will continue to rise over the next few weeks."

This is down to more older people catching the virus and a "lag" in higher case number translating into hospital admissions.

But he added; "Planning for this has been in place for many many months and there's been contingency planning with the NHS across Scotland to make sure there's adequate bed capacity to make sure we can accommodate a rise in cases."

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