First Minister’s Question Time

– in the Scottish Parliament on 10 February 2021.

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Photo of Kenneth Macintosh Kenneth Macintosh Labour

The first item of business is First Minister’s question time. Before we turn to questions, I invite the First Minister to update Parliament on the Covid-19 pandemic.

Photo of Nicola Sturgeon Nicola Sturgeon Scottish National Party

Thank you, Presiding Officer.

I will give a quick update on today’s statistics. Yesterday, 803 new cases were reported, which was 4.8 per cent of all the tests that were carried out. The total number of cases now stands at 188,345. Currently, 1,542 people are in hospital, which is 76 fewer than yesterday, and just 22 above the peak last spring. That is positive.

Currently, 113 people who tested positive for Covid, or were admitted to hospital with Covid within the past 28 days, are in intensive care, which is one more than yesterday. I deliberately give that definition, because it is the standard measure that we have been using for our daily intensive care figures. However, the definition does not cover some patients—30, as of today—who have been in intensive care with Covid for more than 28 days. The number of Covid patients who experience long stays in intensive care units is now increasing. Therefore, from today, we will publish data on that additional measure.

I regret to report that, in the past 24 hours, a further 50 deaths were registered of patients who first tested positive in the past 28 days. The total number of people who have died, under the daily measurement that we use, is now 6,551. National Records of Scotland has just published its weekly update, which includes cases in which Covid is a suspected or contributory cause of death. Today’s update shows that, by Sunday, the total number of registered deaths that have been linked to Covid under that wider definition was 8,726. Of those deaths, 374 were registered last week, which is 70 fewer than in the previous week. Once again, I send my condolences to everyone who has lost a loved one.

I will quickly update Parliament on the latest vaccination figures. As of 8.30 this morning, 985,569 people have received their first dose of the vaccine, which is an increase of 57,447 since yesterday and the second-highest daily total so far. Given the severe weather conditions yesterday, that is—in my view—nothing short of extraordinary. My thanks go to everyone who made it happen—to those who are running the programme across the country and, of course, to those who braved the elements to get the jag.

We have now vaccinated with the first dose 99.8 per cent of residents in older people’s care homes, at least 96 per cent of people over 80 who live in the community, 80 per cent of 75 to 79-year-olds, and 45 per cent of people aged 70 to 74. We remain on course to vaccinate everyone over 70 and all people with a serious clinical vulnerability by mid-February, and we are now accelerating vaccination of 65 to 69-year-olds.

Vaccination will, in time, offer us a route back to greater normality, but we know that it must be accompanied by other measures. That is why, this week, we have confirmed further steps to increase testing, and it is why we are adopting strict travel restrictions. Yesterday, Michael Matheson announced that, from Monday, all travellers to Scotland from outside the common travel area will be required to undergo managed quarantine.

For the moment—alongside vaccination, testing and travel restrictions—lockdown continues to be the most important way of keeping the virus under control. The restrictions are tough for us all, but they are working. I repeat the most important rule of all: please stay at home except for essential purposes. When people are out, remember the FACTS advice. Staying at home whenever possible remains essential to getting and keeping the virus under control, as we vaccinate more and more people, so please stick with it. Stay at home, protect the national health service and save lives.