Coronavirus cases in Borders up one to 286 but no rise in deaths for seventh day running
One more case of coronavirus has been confirmed in the Borders, taking the total for the region up to 286.
It comes after another rise of just one yesterday following two days going by without new diagnoses of the disease, also known as Covid-19, being announced for the first time since mid-March.
The 286 cases confirmed here are among 12,924 nationwide, up from 12,709 yesterday, May 6.
Across the UK, 201,101 people have tested positive for coronavirus, up 6,111 on the day before.
It’s nearing two months now since the first two cases of the disease were confirmed in the Borders on Wednesday, March 11, and over two months since Scotland’s first case, in Tayside, was announced on Sunday, March 1, after spreading across the world from Wuhan in China.
That figure rose to three on Friday, March 13; five on Saturday, March 14; seven on Sunday, March 15; eight the following Thursday, March 19; nine on Friday, March 20; 10 on Saturday, March 21; 11 on Sunday, March 22; 12 on Monday, March 23; 15 on Wednesday, March 25; 23 on Thursday, March 26; 28 on Friday, March 27; 35 on Saturday, March 28; 50 on Sunday, March 29; 63 on Monday, March 30; 77 on Tuesday, March 31; 87 on Wednesday, April 1; 93 on Thursday, April 2; 100 on Friday, April 3; 110 on Saturday, April 4; 130 on Sunday, April 5; 139 on Monday, April 6; 149 on Tuesday, April 7; 160 on Wednesday, April 8; 167 on Thursday, April 9; 177 on Friday, April 10; 189 on Saturday, April 11; 199 on Sunday, April 12; 204 on Monday, April 13; 208 on Tuesday, April 14; 215 on Wednesday, April 15; 220 on Thursday, April 16; 229 on Friday, April 17; 231 on Saturday, April 18; 237 on Sunday, April 19; 239 on Monday, April 20; 240 on Tuesday, April 21; 243 on Wednesday, April 22; 248 on Thursday, April 23; 253 on Friday, April 24; 258 on Saturday, April 25; 259 on Sunday, April 26; 269 on Monday, April 27; 272 on Tuesday, April 28; 279 on Wednesday, April 29; 281 on Friday; 283 on Saturday; 284 on Sunday; 285 yesterday; and 286 today.
There’s been no increase in the number of deaths claimed by the disease in the region for seven days, and it remains at 31.
It’s now been over a month since the first five fatalities among Covid-19 patients were announced on Monday, March 30.
That figure rose to seven the day after, March 31; eight on Wednesday, April 1; 11 on Thursday, April 2; 14 on Friday, April 3; 16 on Sunday, April 5; 17 on Monday, April 6; 19 on Tuesday, April 7; 20 on Friday, April 10; 22 on Saturday, April 11; 23 on Sunday, April 12; 26 on Monday, April 13; 27 on Thursday, April 23; 28 on Friday, April 24; 29 on Monday, April 27; 30 on Wednesday, April 29; and 31 last Thursday, April 30.
They are among 1,762 coronavirus patients killed by the disease in Scotland so far, up 59 from 1,703 overnight, and 30,076 UK-wide, a rise of 649 on the day before.
The number of cases of Covid-19 in the Borders remains higher than in one of its neighbouring health board areas, Dumfries and Galloway’s total being 254, but is still well below the two others, Lanarkshire and Lothian being up to 1,576 and 2,241 respectively.
Altogether, 86 Scots are in intensive care receiving treatment for coronavirus, with 79 having tested positive and the others awaiting results.
Some 67,097 tests for the illness have been carried out in Scotland so far, with 54,173 returning negative results.
Giving an update on the Covid-19 outbreak today in Edinburgh, Scottish Government first minister Nicola Sturgeon said: “A total of 1,587 patients are currently in hospital with either confirmed or suspected Covid-19. That is a decrease of 45 since yesterday.
“A total of 86 people last night were in intensive care with confirmed or suspected Covid-19, and that is a decrease of three since yesterday.
“Since March 5, 2,954 patients who had tested positive and been admitted to hospital for the virus have been able to leave hospital, and I wish all of them well.
“Unfortunately, though, I also have to report that in the last 24 hours, 59 deaths have been registered of patients confirmed through a test as having the virus, and that takes the total number of deaths in Scotland, under that measurement, to 1,762.
“As always, let me stress that these numbers are not statistics – or just statistics. They represent real people whose loss is being felt and mourned by many, and I want again to send my deepest condolences to everyone who has lost a loved one to this virus. We are all thinking of you.”
Ms Sturgeon also confirmed her previous warnings that the lockdown in force since Monday, March 23, is set to continue, explaining: “Our assessment of the evidence leads me to the conclusion that the lockdown must be extended at this stage.
“We are, together, making really significant progress in our efforts to get this virus under control.
“I have reported today a further reduction in the number of patients in intensive care, and yesterday, National Records of Scotland reported the first weekly decline in the number of registered deaths related to the virus since this outbreak began.
“All of that gives us real hope and real encouragement, but we also know that progress remains fragile.
“Our estimates suggest that there are still significant numbers of people in Scotland infected with this virus.
“Any significant easing up of restrictions at this stage would be very very risky indeed.
“Extreme caution is required, at this critical juncture, to avoid a rapid resurgence of the virus.
“Before we can judge that it is safe to begin any significant, albeit gradual, easing of the restrictions, we want to see data in the days ahead that confirms a very clear downward trend.
“It is to allow for such further careful assessment that we have concluded that the lockdown, and the associated regulations, must remain in place for now.
“The legal deadline for the next review of these regulations will be three weeks from now, May 28, but we can make changes to the regulations before then if the evidence suggests it is safe to do so.
“I am as anxious as anyone to restore some degree of normality to our lives as soon as possible and to reduce the harms that we know lockdown itself is doing.”
The first minister also warned that Scotland’s lockdown exit strategy could differ from that reportedly being planned by UK Government prime minister Boris Johnson.
“I want to address reports that you might have seen in today’s media that the prime minister might be planning on Sunday to announce changes to the lockdown in England,” she said.
“I should stress that these are only media reports. I do not know yet how accurate they are.
“Before I go any further here, I want to take the opportunity to remind you that none of the decisions I am taking just now – absolutely none of them – are driven by politics. They are driven only by doing what is right to tackle this virus and to save lives, and I believe that is true for all leaders across the UK.
“However, I have to be clear with you that the potential changes that are reported in the media today have not yet been discussed with the Scottish Government or, as far as I know, with the other devolved governments.
“If and when those discussions do take place, I will make very clear – as I have all along – that it is my preference, if possible, for all four UK nations to make changes, together, at the same pace because that certainly helps us give clear, consistent messages to you, the public.
“However, for that approach to work, we must agree to make changes only when all four governments are satisfied that they don’t risk a resurgence of the virus.
“If the prime minister decides that he wants to move at a faster pace for England than I consider is right for Scotland, that is, of course, his right. I will respect that and I will not criticise him for doing that, but I hope you understand, and indeed I hope you agree, that I must make judgments, informed by the evidence, that are right and safe for Scotland.
“I will not be pressured into lifting restrictions prematurely before I am as certain as I can be that we will not be risking a resurgence of infection rates.
“Now, of the changes that are floated in the media today, there is only one I may – and I would stress at this stage, may – be prepared to agree to in the immediate future, and that is a change to the guidance limiting outdoor exercise to once a day only.
“The other possible changes that are reported in the media today, such as encouraging more people back to work now or opening beer gardens or encouraging more use of public transport, would not, in my judgement, be safe for us to make yet.
“It’s not an exaggeration to say that the decisions we take now are a matter of life and death, and that is why they weigh so very, very heavily, and it’s why they must be taken with great care, and it is why, as I take them, I will continue to err on the side of caution.”