Coronavirus kills another two sufferers in Borders, taking death toll to 22

Another two coronavirus sufferers in the Borders have lost their fight against the disease, taking the death toll it’s claimed here to 22.

By Darin Hutson
Saturday, 11th April 2020, 9:54 pm
Updated Saturday, 11th April 2020, 10:00 pm
Chief superintendent John McKenzie.
Chief superintendent John McKenzie.

That rise in fatalities has been accompanied by another double-figure increase in cases confirmed in the region, taking the total to just short of 190.

A daily update issued by the Scottish Government on the current coronavirus outbreak reveals an increase of a dozen cases in the Borders today, April 11, up from 177 to 189.

The first five fatalities claimed in the Borders by Covid-19, as the virus is also known, 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, 20 yesterday and 22 today.

They’re among a death toll of 542 nationwide, up almost 50 from 495 yesterday, and 9,875 across the UK, up 917 from 7,978 the day before.

Some 5,590 cases of the illness have been confirmed nationwide, up from 5,275 yesterday.

UK-wide, 78,991 people, including British prime minister Boris Johnson, have tested positive for the illness, up 5,234 from 65,077 on the day before.

Some 29,903 tests for coronavirus have been carried out in Scotland to date, with 24,313 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, March 27; 35 last 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 on Thursday; 177 yesterday; and 189 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 179, but remains well below the two others, Lanarkshire and Lothian being up to 707 and 856 respectively.

The 5,200-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 12,000 out of a population of 115,000 or so.

Altogether, 212 Scots, six of them in the Borders, are in intensive care receiving treatment for coronavirus, as of last night, with 202 having tested positive and the others awaiting results.

Police in the Borders are urging people, as the Easter bank holiday weekend continues, to carry on complying with the ongoing lockdown to curb the spread of coronavirus.

Chief superintendent John McKenzie, divisional commander for the Lothians and Borders, said: “The past few weeks have undoubtedly been challenging for many as we maintain social distancing in order to save lives and protect the NHS.

“I want to thank the overwhelming majority of the public in West Lothian, East Lothian, Midlothian and the Scottish Borders for adhering to these restrictions and staying home.

“I know that being separated from family and friends is incredibly difficult and the Easter weekend is usually a time when we gather with those we love for a range of events and celebrations, but, because of the current circumstances, that is just not possible at this time.

“My message for this weekend is simple – please stay in your home and help save lives.

“Throughout the Lothians and Scottish Borders, there are many scenic areas that are normally perfect destinations for people to visit over a long weekend, places such as the Pentland Hills, East Lothian’s beaches, the Borders countryside or the grounds of Linlithgow Palace in West Lothian.

“All of these places will be available for the public to enjoy once restrictions have been lifted, but, until then, please do not travel to them.

“Police Scotland officers are taking a common-sense approach. We will engage with members of the public, explain the importance of social distancing and encourage them to return home, but we will, as a last resort, use enforcement powers if necessary.

“There are, of course, times when leaving the house is required, such as shopping for essential groceries and medicines.

“You can also exercise in your local area or walk your dog. However, please do not travel to other locations to conduct these activities.

“This is an unprecedented time for us all, but it is vital we all continue to do our part to keep ourselves and each other safe.

“Please help us achieve this and stay home.”

Under emergency powers relating to coronavirus, 18 fixed-penalty notices were handed out in the Lothians and Borders between March 27 and April 9.