Covid-19 cases in Borders shoot up to 23 as warning issued that up to 50,000 Scots could be infected

Cases of coronavirus confirmed in the Borders have shot up by more than half again today, March 26, rising from 15 to 23.

Thursday, 26th March 2020, 3:04 pm
Updated Thursday, 26th March 2020, 10:38 pm
Scottish chief medical officer Catherine Calderwood holding a briefing in Edinburgh today on the coronavirus outbreak spreading across the country. (Photo by Andy Buchanan/Pool/AFP via Getty Images)
Scottish chief medical officer Catherine Calderwood holding a briefing in Edinburgh today on the coronavirus outbreak spreading across the country. (Photo by Andy Buchanan/Pool/AFP via Getty Images)

That increase of eight is the biggest daily rise seen in the region since the disease, also known as Covid-19, was confirmed to have arrived here just over a fortnight ago.

The 23 cases of the illness confirmed in the Borders today during the Scottish Government’s latest daily update are among 894 nationwide, up from 719 yesterday.

Across the UK, 9,529 people have tested positive for coronavirus, up from 8,077 the previous day.

The death toll claimed by Covid-19 in Scotland now stands at 25, up from 22 yesterday, and the number of fatalities attributable to the virus UK-wide is up to 463.

Some 11,487 tests for the illness have now been carried out in Scotland, with 10,593 coming back negative.

It’s just over two weeks now since the first two cases of the illness were confirmed in the Borders 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 and 15 yesterday.

Though rising rapidly, 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 39, 114 and 111 respectively.

The near-900 Scots confirmed to have coronavirus are likely to be only the tip of the iceberg and as many as 50,000 people this side of the border could be infected, the country’s chief medical officer, Catherine Calderwood, warned today.

“This is a very significant underestimate of the number of cases in Scotland,” Dr Calderwood said at a briefing in Edinburgh about the spread of the disease.

“We’re probably looking at the order of 40,000 to 50,000 people in Scotland who are now infected with coronavirus.

“Many of them don’t yet know that they are infected, nor indeed do they realise they are potentially going to infect those around them.”

There are currently 57 coronavirus patients being treated in intensive care units across the country, up from six from Wednesday, it was reported.

Dr Calderwood’s estimate that only one in 48 to 56 Covid-19 sufferers in Scotland has been identified would suggest that the true figure for those with the disease in the Borders is between 1,100 and 1,300.

Scottish first minister Nicola Sturgeon added that new regulations are about to come into force giving police the powers to impose social-distancing measures recommended on Monday as Scotland went into lockdown.

“They are there to make sure we can ensure the right things are done to help us delay the spread of the virus,” she said.

“I completely recognise how unusual and out of character these regulations are.

“Ultimately, this is about saving lives.

“This will get harder with every day that passes, to stay at home and to follow all the advice, but it remains essential that we all do so.”