No rise in coronavirus cases in Borders for almost a month, but disease’s death toll here up by one to 74

Just short of a month has now gone by without any new cases of coronavirus being confirmed in the Borders, according to the latest figures.
Nicola Sturgeon at today's Scottish Government Covid-19 outbreak update in Edinburgh.Nicola Sturgeon at today's Scottish Government Covid-19 outbreak update in Edinburgh.
Nicola Sturgeon at today's Scottish Government Covid-19 outbreak update in Edinburgh.

There’s been no increase in the number of positive test results in the region for the virus since Wednesday, June 17, and it remains at 345.

A laboratory error put that figure at 346 from Sunday, June 21, to Wednesday, June 24, but it’s since been corrected.

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One more death linked to Covid-19, as the illness is also known, has been reported this week, however, with the number of lives it’s claimed rising to 74, as of Sunday.

That follows an increase of one last week too but no rise the week before.

It’s now been over a month since the death toll here claimed by coronavirus went up by more than a single case at a time, the last such occasion being a rise of three to 71 on Sunday, June 14.

The 74 fatalities for the region cited in figures issued by the National Records of Scotland today, July 15, taking into account all deaths linked to coronavirus and not just among those previously tested and found to be infected, are among 4,187 nationwide measured by those criteria.

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The number of coronavirus cases confirmed nationwide is now up to 18,373, a rise of five overnight.

Across the UK, Covid-19 has killed 44,968 sufferers, up 138 overnight.

It’s now four and a half months since Scotland’s first official diagnosis of the disease was announced on Sunday, March 1, after spreading across the world from Wuhan in China, with the first two cases in the Borders following on Wednesday, March 11.

Giving an update on the outbreak in Edinburgh today, Scottish Government first minister Nicola Sturgeon said: “I am very pleased to say that in the last 24 hours, no deaths have been registered of a person confirmed as having the virus.

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“That is the seventh day in a row in which no deaths have been recorded in our daily figures, and it means that the total number of deaths in Scotland, under that measurement, remains at 2,490.

“However, today’s National Records of Scotland report shows that, by Sunday, the total number of registered deaths with a confirmed or a presumed link to the virus was 4,187.

“Of those, 13 were registered in the seven days up to Sunday. That is a decrease of five from the week before.

“The total number of deaths recorded last week, from all causes, was 56 below the five-year average for the same time of year. This is the third week in a row that the total number of deaths has been below the five-year average.

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“Last week was the 11th in a row in which the number of deaths from Covid has fallen.

“These weekly figures show that Covid is being driven to very low levels in Scotland.

“However, these numbers also speak of tragedy for many.

“Every death reported has resulted in loss for a family or friends. I want to send my condolences to everyone who is grieving the loss of a loved one to this virus.”

Ms Sturgeon added: “Prevalence of the virus in Scotland has now fallen to very low levels, but as we all go out and about a bit more, it becomes increasingly important that we are very alert – hyper-vigilant – to any early warnings that case levels might be starting to rise once again.

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“It is also important that where cases do arise, we are able to respond quickly, as we did two weeks ago in Dumfries and Galloway.

“It’s especially important to talk about this today since today is the biggest step so far out of lockdown.

“The childcare sector can fully open from today.

“Venues such as museums, galleries and other attractions can also welcome visitors from today, although in many cases you will need to secure tickets in advance.

“Hairdressing services resume today. Cinemas can also open their doors. Places of worship can reopen for communal services and prayer for up to 50 people, if that can be accommodated with physical distancing.

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“Our tourism sector fully reopens, so hotels and bed-and-breakfasts, for example, can welcome guests, and indoor hospitality such as pubs and restaurants can start up again.

“All of this, of course, has strict conditions attached, but it is all good news.

“These changes are long awaited and they have been very hard earned by everybody across the country, but I have to say that I am even more nervous about today’s moves than I have been about earlier changes to lockdown.

“That is because today’s steps are, by some margin, the highest-risk changes we have made since we started to come out of lockdown.

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“Many of them involve indoor activity, and we know that the risk of the virus spreading indoors – in a pub, for example – is significantly higher than outdoors.

“That is why we have deliberately waited until infection levels are very low before allowing these services to restart.

“That gives us the best possible chance of managing the risks that a reopening of indoor services creates, but it doesn’t remove those risks, and so it is vital, more vital than it has been at any stage of this crisis so far, that all of us stick to the rules and guidance on how to behave in these different settings.

“It is only by doing that, as we open up these services, that we will stop the virus spreading again.

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“Our progress out of lockdown could yet go into reverse, and it will go into reverse if we see signs that the virus is starting to spread widely in the community again.

“All of us must do everything we can to ensure that that doesn’t happen, so let’s, as we have done over these four long, painful months, keep working in that spirit of collective solidarity and keep beating this virus.”