Saturday, 26 Sep 2020

Coronavirus: Nicola Sturgeon feels ‘anxiety’ as COVID cases in Scotland reach a three-month high

Indoor gatherings and “small clusters” could have helped trigger a three-month high in the number of coronavirus cases in Scotland.

In the last 24 hours, 160 new cases of the coronavirus have been recorded there – the highest total since 16 May, and an increase on the 123 cases announced on Sunday.

It brings the total number of cases in Scotland since the start of the pandemic to 20,478.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has admitted she feels “a greater sense of anxiety today” than at any time “probably for the last couple of months” because of the rising cases of COVID-19.

She revealed an incident management team is assessing a cluster of 22 cases in Ayrshire and Arran that “seem to be linked to indoor gatherings that took place the previous weekend”.

Speaking during the daily coronavirus briefing in Edinburgh, Ms Sturgeon also said a spike in cases in Greater Glasgow and Clyde “seems to reflect a number of small clusters, rather than one or two more significant outbreaks”.

With no deaths in almost a week among people who have been confirmed to have contracted the virus, the number of fatalities remains at 2,494.

The majority of new cases are in the central belt, with 69 in the Greater Glasgow and Clyde health board area and 27 in Lanarkshire.

Ms Sturgeon said the “quite high” numbers of new cases were “partly a result of greater numbers of people being tested”.

She emphasised the proportion of people testing positive was still below 1%, but added: “The number of cases we are seeing right now is a reminder to all of us the virus is still a very real risk, it is a development that concerns me and it is one we are taking very seriously.

“I feel a greater sense of anxiety today than I have done any time probably for the last couple of months.

“We are in a fragile position – we have substantially lifted the lockdown restrictions, but in doing so we’ve allowed this virus opportunities to spread.”

On Monday, Scotland allowed the opening of gyms and indoor swimming pools and the resumption of youth clubs and mother and baby groups as it took further steps out of lockdown.

And new rules which have come into force in Scotland means all children over 12 must wear face masks in school corridors and communal areas.

A further two people who tested positive for coronavirus have died in the UK, according to Public Health England figures on Monday.

Across the UK, 1,406 new confirmed cases were reported, with the majority of these in England.

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