28 coronavirus cases now confirmed in Borders, but true figure likely to be around 1,700, going by top medic’s estimate

Coronavirus is continuing to spread through the Borders, and the number of cases confirmed here is now nearing 30.

Scottish chief medical officer Catherine Calderwood. (Photo by David Cheskin/WPA Pool/Getty Images)
Scottish chief medical officer Catherine Calderwood. (Photo by David Cheskin/WPA Pool/Getty Images)

An update issued by the Scottish Government today, March 27, reveals that 28 Borderers have been diagnosed with the disease, also known as Covid-19, to date, up from 23 yesterday.

That rise of five cases is the second biggest daily increase here yet, only being exceeded by the eight new cases announced yesterday.

The 28 cases of the illness confirmed in the Borders today are among 1,059 nationwide, up from 894 yesterday.

Across the UK, 14,579 people have tested positive for coronavirus, including UK Government prime minister Boris Johnson and health secretary Matt Hancock.

That’s up from 9,529 the previous day.

The death toll claimed by Covid-19 in Scotland now stands at 33, up from 25 yesterday, and the number of fatalities attributable to the virus UK-wide is up to 759, a daily rise of 181, the biggest yet.

Some 12,273 tests for the illness have now been carried out in Scotland, with 11,214 coming back negative.

It’s just over two weeks now since the first two cases of the illness were confirmed in the Borders on Wednesday, March 11, after spreading worldwide from China, with that figure going up to three on the Friday of that week, five on the Saturday, seven the day after, eight last Thursday, nine last Friday, 10 on Saturday, 11 on Sunday, 12 on Monday, 15 on Wednesday and 23 yesterday.

Though on the rise, the number of cases of coronavirus in the Borders is dwarfed by those reported in the neighbouring health board areas of Dumfries and Galloway, Lanarkshire and Lothian, up to 47, 140 and 139 respectively.

The 1,000-plus Scots confirmed to have coronavirus are likely to be only a small fraction of the number actually infected, the country’s chief medical officer, Catherine Calderwood, reiterated today.

She now estimates the number of people in Scotland infected with the disease to be more than 65,000.

That guess that only one in just over 60 cases of coronavirus in Scotland has been confirmed would, if accurate, put the likely figure for the Borders at around 1,700.

Speaking at a briefing in Edinburgh today with Scottish Government first minister Nicola Sturgeon and health secretary Jeane Freeman, Dr Calderwood said: “I was quoted yesterday in some of the press as estimating that there were between 40,000 and 50,000 people in Scotland with coronavirus.

“While it’s dangerous to go day by day, I want to really emphasise that I would now be estimating that there are more than 65,000 people in Scotland infected.

“There will come a time when I will be able to talk to you about the numbers being infected and that rate slowing, but that time is not yet and that time will not be for some weeks to come.”

Ms Sturgeon sent her best wishes to Mr Johnson after news of his testing positive for the disease was made public today.

“I don’t underestimate how difficult it is to be positive for this virus, so I’m certainly sending my best wishes to him for a very speedy recovery,” she said.

Ms Sturgeon added: “Above all else, we must continue to do the right thing for the sake of the National Health Service and those who are most vulnerable from becoming seriously ill and dying from this virus, and that means staying at home.

“By doing that, every single one of us in this collective national endeavour is helping to slow down the spread of this virus, protect the NHS and save lives.

“I know that many of you will already be struggling with being cooped up in the house as much as you are right now and not being able to do all the normal things that you would do at the weekend, but it is vital that all of us stick with this.”