Coronavirus claims another life in Borders, taking death toll here to 20

Coronavirus has claimed another life in the Borders, taking the disease’s death toll here to 20.

By Darin Hutson
Friday, 10th April 2020, 2:57 pm
Updated Saturday, 11th April 2020, 9:15 pm
Police Scotland chief constable Iain Livingstone.
Police Scotland chief constable Iain Livingstone.

That increase in fatalities has been accompanied by a double-figure rise in confirmed cases of the illness, also known as Covid-19, in the region to almost 180.

A daily update issued by the Scottish Government on the current coronavirus outbreak reveals an increase of 10 cases here today, April 10, taking the total for the region to 177.

The death toll claimed by the illness is up to 20 after remaining static at 19 for two days, a previous rise reported on Wednesday by NHS Borders having later been found to be incorrect.

The first five fatalities claimed here by Covid-19 were announced on Monday, March 30, and that figure rose to seven the day after, eight the next day, 11 last Thursday, 14 on Friday, 16 on Sunday, 17 on Monday, 19 on Tuesday and 20 today.

They’re among a death toll of 495 nationwide, up almost 50 from 447 yesterday, and 7,978 across the UK, up from 7,097 the day before.

Some 5,275 cases of the illness have been confirmed nationwide, up from 4,957 yesterday.

UK-wide, 65,077 people, including British prime minister Boris Johnson, have tested positive for the illness, up 4,344 on the day before.

Some 28,652 tests for coronavirus have been carried out in Scotland to date, with 23,377 proving negative.

It’s over four weeks now since the first two cases of the illness were confirmed in the Borders on Wednesday, March 11, and over five weeks since Scotland’s first case, in Tayside, was announced on Sunday, March 1, after spreading across the world from Wuhan in China.

That figure went up 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 last Friday; 35 on Saturday; 50 on Sunday; 63 on Monday; 77 on Tuesday; 87 on Wednesday; 93 yesterday; 100 on Friday; 110 on Saturday; 130 on Sunday; 139 on Monday; 149 on Tuesday; 160 on Wednesday; 167 yesterday; and 177 today.

The number of cases of Covid-19 in the Borders has now overtaken that of one of its neighbouring health board areas, Dumfries and Galloway’s total being 164, but remains well below the two others, Lanarkshire and Lothian being up to 662 and 799 respectively.

The 5,000-plus Scots confirmed to have coronavirus are likely to be only a small fraction of the actual number infected, though, according to former Scottish chief medical officer Catherine Calderwood.

Dr Calderwood, replaced on an interim basis by Gregor Smith following her resignation on Sunday after being caught flouting lockdown rules, estimates that only around one in 64 cases of Covid-19 has been detected this side of the border.

That guess, if correct, would put the likely figure for the region at more than 11,300 out of a population of 115,000 or so.

Altogether, 207 Scots, six of them in the Borders, are in intensive care receiving treatment for coronavirus, as of last night, with 197 having tested positive and the others awaiting results.

Giving an update in Edinburgh today on the spread of the disease, Scottish first minister Nicola Sturgeon said no date has been decided yet for lifting the current lockdown.

There is no sign yet of any change to the spread of the virus enabling restrictions to be lifted, she said, adding: “As that evidence becomes available, we will be able to review the situation, but, for now, the message remains exactly the same as it has been.”

Ms Sturgeon was joined for the first time at one of her daily Covid-19 briefings by Police Scotland chief constable Iain Livingstone at the daily coronavirus briefings, and he gave an update on action being taken to maintain the lockdown in the Borders and nationwide.

“One example was a house in the Scottish Borders where a group of people had gone to spend some time,” he said.

“The police service went there late morning and told them they should not be there, gathering in clear breach of the guidance, and we left.

“However, they did not comply and we were required to return a number of hours later, and a number of the five were arrested and a number were issued with fixed penalties, and it made it quite clear that we will always seek to engage and educate, but if people continue to wilfully refuse to obey the law, wilfully refuse to play their part in combating coronavirus, we will take action and we will enforce the law.”

Mr Livingstone said he expects officers to use common sense to work with communities and he would not expect patrolling of supermarket aisles to check that only essentials are being bought.

Asked why Dr Calderwood, forced to resign after being photographed visiting her second home in Fife, had not been fined, he said: “I am very satisfied that that matter was dealt with in a timely, a fair and a proportionate manner.

“Dr Calderwood accepted the error of her ways without any equivocation and accepted that she would change her behaviour.

“It was entirely appropriate that a warning was issued, and that is exactly how I would expect any citizen to be dealt with.”