Number of coronavirus cases in Borders up to seven

The number of cases of coronavirus diagnosed in the Borders has risen to seven.

Scottish Government health secretary Jeane Freeman.
Scottish Government health secretary Jeane Freeman.

The latest daily figures released by the Scottish Government charting the spread of Covid-19 today, March 15, reveal an increase of two cases since yesterday.

It's only five days since the first cases of the illness were confirmed in the region, and already that initial figure of two has seen a rise of more than threefold, going up to three on Friday then five yesterday.

The seven cases confirmed in the Borders are among 153 in Scotland, up 32 since yesterday, and 1,372 UK-wide.

The outbreak has claimed one life this side of the border so far and a further 34 elsewhere in the UK.

Some 4,240 tests have now been carried out on suspected Covid-19 sufferers in Scotland, 4,087 of them giving negative results.

In an interview on the BBC's Politics Scotland show yesterday, Scottish Government health secretary Jeane Freeman said plans are being drawn up to increase the number of acute care beds available nationwide to 380 to help medics deal with the pandemic.

Ms Freeman said: "We are working to double the number of acute beds. That will take us to about 380.

"We are looking at what we need to do to increase capacity in our existing hospitals. That will include slowing down and stopping elective work."

She also warned that decisions on further measures to curb the spread of Covid-19 will be made in the next few days.

Details will be made public when a strategy is agreed but it is expected to include asking Scots over the age of 70s to reduce social contact as they are more at risk from the virus than younger people, she said.

"What we are doing is following the scientific advice," added Ms Freeman, MSP for Carrick, Cumnock and Doon Valley.

"Many of the measures are due for decision-making imminently in the coming days.

"Herd immunity is not what we are trying to do. We don't know enough about the virus.

"The policy is to protect the most vulnerable in the community and as far as possible ensure they do not get the virus, they do not become sick and, as far as possible, they do not die."