Nicola Sturgeon said public health officials in Scotland recorded 77 new cases across the nation within the past 24 hours. The increase of coronavirus infections marks the highest number reported in a single day in the past three months. Speaking during the Scottish Government’s daily briefing, Ms Sturgeon said 19,534 people have tested positive for the virus in Scotland, up by 77 from 19,457 the day before.
Ms Sturgeon said: “Since yesterday, an additional 77 cases of COVID have been confirmed.
“That represents one percent of those newly tested yesterday and takes the total number now to 19,534.
“This is the highest number of new cases in almost three months, which underlines the need for continued caution.
“A total of 249 patients are currently in hospital with confirmed COVID, which is an increase of one since yesterday and two people are in intensive care, which is the same as yesterday.”
Nicola Sturgeon said 77 new COVID-19 cases have been reported in the past 24 hours
Nicola Sturgeon urged Scots to remain “cautious” about potential infection
The First Minister also warned estimates suggest the R rate – which measures the number of people one person carrying the virus could infect – “could currently be above one.”
Ms Sturgeon said Scottish authorities have been dealing with a “significant cluster in Coupar Angus” connected to an outbreak at the Two Sisters food plant.
The First Minister said officials were “considering carefully and urgently whether further restrictions are necessary”.
The SNP leader also confirmed Scotland will not be moving into phase three of easing lockdown restrictions for at least another three weeks.
Nicola Sturgeon said Scotland will not be moving on to phase 4 for at least another three weeks
The Scottish leader however confirmed some restrictions will be lifted on outdoor activities but insisted physical distancing will continue to be required.
She said: “Organised outdoor contact sports will also resume for people of all ages. However for outdoor coaching sessions, there will be a cap of 30 on the total number of people who can be coached at any one time.
“Driving lessons will resume.
“And indoor face to face advice services – for example Citizens Advice – can also open to provide financial advice when necessary.”
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Coronavirus cases have been surging in several areas of the UK
Ms Sturgeon told colleagues in the Scottish Parliament: “I am not able to indicate, today, a move from phase three of our route map out of lockdown to phase four.
“We will remain, for now, in phase three and I must give notice today that this may well be the case beyond the next review point too.”
The First Minister insisted ministers would need to be satisfied that “the virus is no longer considered a significant threat to public health” before Scotland is allowed to move into phase four.
And she said the latest figures showed that “this is definitely not the case”.