First Minister’s Question Time

– in the Scottish Parliament on 20th January 2021.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Kenneth Macintosh Kenneth Macintosh Labour

Good afternoon. We begin with First Minister’s question time but, before we turn to the questions, the First Minister will update us with a short statement on Covid.

Photo of Nicola Sturgeon Nicola Sturgeon Scottish National Party

I will give a short update on today’s figures. Yesterday, 1,656 positive cases were reported, which is 7.5 per cent of all the tests that were carried out. Therefore, the total number of cases is now 166,583. As of yesterday, 309,909 people had received their first dose of vaccine. There are currently 2,003 people in hospital, which is 14 more than yesterday, and 156 people in intensive care, which is six more than yesterday.

I very much regret to report that, in the past 24 hours, a further 92 deaths were registered of patients who first tested positive over the previous 28 days. The total number of people who have died under that daily measurement is 5,468.

The National Records of Scotland has just published its weekly update, which includes cases in which Covid is a suspected or contributory cause of death, even if it has not been confirmed by a test. Today’s update shows that, by last Sunday, the total number of registered deaths linked to Covid under the wider definition was 7,448. Of those deaths, 368 were registered in the most recent week, which is 23 fewer deaths than in the week before. Of last week’s deaths, 240 took place in hospital, 97 in care homes and four in a different institutional setting, and 27 occurred at home or in another non-institutional setting. Every one of those deaths is a source of heartbreak for loved ones, and I send my condolences to everybody who is grieving.

The figures that I have reported today demonstrate the seriousness of the situation that we continue to face. As a result of the lockdown restrictions, as I reported to the Parliament yesterday, case numbers appear to have stabilised—indeed, they may even be declining. However, as we see again today, they remain too high. Hospital admissions are 30 per cent higher now than at the peak of the first wave last April. Although admissions to intensive care are below the first wave peak, they have almost doubled since the turn of the year. All of that means that our national health service is under severe pressure and, given the number of new cases over the past couple of weeks, that pressure is almost certain to increase.

It is therefore vital that we do everything that we can to protect our NHS by slowing the spread of the virus and bringing case numbers down. That is why we confirmed yesterday that lockdown restrictions will remain in place until at least the middle of February, and why it is so important that we all continue to comply with the restrictions.

Put simply, that means that we need to stay home. We should leave home only for essential purposes such as caring responsibilities, essential shopping, work that cannot be done from home and essential exercise; we should not have people from other households in our houses or go into theirs; and we should all work from home if we possibly can. Further, on any occasion that we are required to leave home, we should remember FACTS: face coverings when doing essential shopping or when out for other reasons; avoid places that are busy; clean hands and surfaces; use 2m distancing if you are with someone from another household; and self-isolate and get tested if you have symptoms.

Fundamentally, the best means of keeping ourselves safe right now is to stay at home as much as possible. Please stay at home, protect the NHS and save lives.