Number of coronavirus cases in Borders hits 50 as UK-wide death toll claimed by disease passes 1,200

Coronavirus cases confirmed in the Borders are now up to 50.

By Darin Hutson
Sunday, 29th March 2020, 3:20 pm
Updated Monday, 30th March 2020, 2:19 pm
British prime minister Boris Johnson giving a press briefing at Downing Street in London on the spread of coronavirus through the UK on March 22. (Photo by Ian Vogler/WPA pool/Getty Images)
British prime minister Boris Johnson giving a press briefing at Downing Street in London on the spread of coronavirus through the UK on March 22. (Photo by Ian Vogler/WPA pool/Getty Images)

That increase of 15 cases today, March 29, is the biggest daily rise seen here yet and almost double the largest previous jump overnight, from 15 to 23 on Thursday.

The latest daily update issued by the Scottish Government also reveals that 1,384 cases of the disease have been confirmed nationwide, up from 1,245 yesterday.

Across the UK, 19,522 people have tested positive for the illness, also known as Covid-19, including UK Government prime minister Boris Johnson, health secretary Matt Hancock and chief medical officer Chris Whitty, as well as the Prince of Wales.

That’s up from 17,089 the day before.

The death toll taken by coronavirus in Scotland now stands at 41, up one from yesterday, and the number of fatalities it has claimed UK-wide has risen from 1,019 to 1,228.

Some 13,889 tests for the illness have now been carried out in Scotland, with 12,505 proving negative.

It’s two and a half weeks now since the first two cases of the illness were confirmed in the Borders on Wednesday, March 11, and approaching a month since Scotland’s first case was announced on Sunday, March 1, 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, 15 on Wednesday, 23 on Thursday, 28 on Friday and 35 yesterday.

Though rising rapidly, the number of cases of Covid-19 in the Borders is lagging behind those reported in the neighbouring health board areas of Dumfries and Galloway, Lanarkshire and Lothian, up to 63, 184 and 188 respectively.

The near-1,400 Scots confirmed to have coronavirus are likely to be only a small fraction of the number actually infected, according to the country’s chief medical officer, Catherine Calderwood.

She estimates the number of people in Scotland infected with the disease, as of Friday, to be more than 65,000, and that guess that only one in just over 60 cases of coronavirus here has been detected would, if accurate, put the likely figure for the Borders at around 3,000 out of a population of about 115,000.

Mr Johnson today announced plans to write to every household in the UK to urge people to stay at home, saying: “In just a few short weeks, everyday life in this country has changed dramatically.

“We all feel the profound impact of coronavirus, not just on ourselves, but on our loved ones and our communities.

“I understand completely the difficulties this disruption has caused to your lives, businesses and jobs, but the action we have taken is absolutely necessary, for one very simple reason.

“If too many people become seriously unwell at one time, the NHS will be unable to cope. This will cost lives.

“We must slow the spread of the disease and reduce the number of people needing hospital treatment in order to save as many lives as possible.

“That is why we are giving one simple instruction – you must stay at home.

“You should not meet friends or relatives who do not live in your home.

“You may only leave your home for very limited purposes, such as buying food and medicine, exercising once a day and seeking medical attention.

“You can travel to and from work but should work from home if you can.

“When you do have to leave your home, you should ensure, wherever possible, that you are two metres apart from anyone outside of your household.

“These rules must be observed, so, if people break the rules, the police will issue fines and disperse gatherings.

“I know many of you will be deeply worried about the financial impact on you and your family. The government will do whatever it takes to help you make ends meet and put food on the table.

“From the start, we have sought to put in the right measures at the right time.

“We will not hesitate to go further if that is what the scientific and medical advice tells us we must do.

“We know things will get worse before they get better, but we are making the right preparations, and the more we all follow the rules the fewer lives will be lost and the sooner life can return to normal.”