Number of coronavirus cases in Scotland up to 60, but figure for Borders remains static at two
The Scottish Government’s latest daily announcement of figures charting the spread of the disease, known as Covid-19, also reveals that 2,892 tests have been carried out so far this side of the border, with 2,832 of them coming up negative.
There are now 11 confirmed cases in Lothian, 10 in Greater Glasgow and Clyde, seven apiece in Grampian and Lanarkshire, six each in Shetland and the Forth Valley, four apiece in Tayside and Ayrshire and Arran and three in Fife.
Only two cases have been confirmed in the Borders so far, though that figure, announced yesterday, March 11, is, like those for the rest of the country, expected to rise as time goes on.
The two people diagnosed with the illness here are said to be a couple not long back from a trip to one of the countries identified as risk areas.
Which country that was has not been disclosed and nor has whereabouts in the Borders they are from.
They are said to be in self-imposed isolation at home and making a good recovery, however.
NHS Borders medical director Cliff Sharp says: “Given the contagious nature of this coronavirus, confirmed cases in the Borders were inevitable.”
UK-wide, 596 cases of Covid-19 have now been confirmed, with 10 proving fatal.
In a bid to curb the spread of the disease, the Scottish Government is advising that large-scale gatherings be cancelled, a move which could affect events such as next month’s Melrose Sevens rugby tournament and, if the pandemic isn’t brought under control by the summer, the region’s annual common ridings.
First minister Nicola Sturgeon said today, March 12, that it is “inappropriate that we continue as normal” and recommended that, beginning on Monday, all gatherings of more than 500 people be cancelled to reduce the risk of infecting medics and police officers.
Explaining that advice at first minister’s questions at Holyrood, she said: “This is a decision that we are basing on resilience issues and not simply on the action that we are required to take to reduce the spread of the virus.
“Mass gatherings are required to be policed, they require to have emergency ambulance cover, they require the services of our voluntary health services and, at a time when we need to be reducing the pressures on these front-line workers in order to free them up for the significant challenge that lies ahead, I do think it is inappropriate that we continue as normal.
“That is principally to protect the resilience of our front-line workers, and we will continue to take decisions in collaboration with the other nations of the UK around issues like schools in the future but driven very much by the scientific advice.”
Ms Sturgeon added: “Our emergency services, like all parts of our workforce, are likely to suffer from higher-than-normal sickness absence rates in the weeks and months ahead, and our NHS in particular will be under significant pressure, so it’s important that we protect that resilience as much as possible and reduce any unnecessary burden on these front-line workers at this stage.”
The government is not recommending yet that schools or universities be shut, but Ms Sturgeon said such a move would be “kept under constant review”.
Council chiefs in the Borders say they won’t make any decisions on shutting schools or stopping other local authority services without deferring to the government.
Council chief executive Tracey Logan said: “The council has been involved in a significant amount of planning at all levels around coronavirus and is continuing to work closely with NHS Borders and other partners, including the Scottish Government, on what is a challenging public health issue.
“We fully appreciate that this is a difficult situation and that people have many questions, but I would reassure residents that our priority is the health and wellbeing of Borderers and we continue to take advice from experts and follow guidance issued by relevant organisations.
“All decisions in respect of the council’s services and any other community matters will only be taken in light of guidance provided at a Scottish and UK level and will not be taken by the council in isolation.
“Any announcements will be made using our normal communication channels, including online at www.scotborders.gov.uk/coronavirus and through local media.”