Scotland

Number of Scottish coronavirus cases rises to 11

coronavirus sign Image copyright PA Media

Five new cases of coronavirus have been confirmed in Scotland, bringing the total to 11.

The Scottish government said two of the new Covid-19 cases were in Fife, with one each in the Grampian, Forth Valley and Lothian health board areas.

The first Scottish case of the virus was confirmed in Tayside on Sunday.

Scotland's Six Nations women's rugby game against France has been postponed after a Scottish player tested positive for the virus.

Scottish Rugby said the player was receiving treatment but was otherwise well. Seven members of the playing and management staff are in self-isolation. The men's match on Sunday is still due to go ahead.

The development came as it emerged a man in his 80s had become the second person in the UK to die after contracting the virus.

He had an underlying health condition and he died at Milton Keynes Hospital in England on Thursday.

Scotland's chief medical officer has previously warned that there could be a "rapid rise" in the number of cases in the coming days.

Dr Catherine Calderwood also said Scotland remained "very much" in the containment phase of its response to the outbreak, and urged people to continue to follow basic hygiene advice and - crucially - wash their hands for 20 seconds.

Asked about the potential impact on major events, Dr Calderwood said: "The emerging scientific advice is that large-scale gatherings, particularly those in the open air probably don't make a big impact on the transmission of the virus in the community.

"We have the rugby at Murrayfield, Scotland v France, going ahead this weekend and I am absolutely sure that that is the right thing to do."

The UK's chief medical adviser Prof Chris Whitt has told MPs that health officials were moving towards the second phase of their response to the coronavirus outbreak.

But Dr Calderwood said the switch from the current containment phase to the "delay" stage would be like a dimmer switch.

She told the BBC's Good Morning Scotland programme: "Where we are on the dial at the moment the switch is still in containment, very much in containment, and gradually that dial will move around to the delay phase."

Coronavirus in Scotland

Health boardConfirmed cases
Tayside1
Ayrshire & Arran1
Forth Valley2
Greater Glasgw & Clyde1
Grampian3
Fife2
Lothian1
Source: Scottish government

Andrew Buist, chairman of BMA Scotland's GP committee, told the same programme that it was "very much business as usual".

He said: "The only difference in my practice is that we're having a daily team huddle to review the latest guidance and check all our systems are in place and ready for if and when activity of coronavirus increases.

"We have a limited number of beds in Scotland and on any normal day, most of them are full.

"A significant rise in the number of cases of coronavirus is going to put quite significant stress on NHS Scotland."

Meanwhile, next month's Edinburgh International Harp Festival has been cancelled because of coronavirus.

Organisers had arranged five days of concerts, as well as 40 courses, and expected 400 people to travel from all over the world.

They said the decision was taken by the host venue, Merchiston Castle School, where many visitors were scheduled to stay.

What do we know about the Scottish cases?

The first case in Scotland was confirmed on Sunday evening, with a further two on Wednesday and three more on Thursday.

On Friday the number increased to 11.

Dr Calderwood said clinicians were in the process of finding out more about who the infected patients had been in contact with.

It is understood the positive samples have been sent to Public Health England's Colindale laboratory in London for confirmatory testing.

The 11 Scottish cases takes the total number of coronavirus cases in the UK to 163.

The latest figure includes 147 cases in England, three in Northern Ireland and two in Wales.

What do I need to know about the coronavirus?

The advice to people who believe they have symptoms is to stay at home and contact NHS24 or their GP.

Evidence from around the world has suggested that for the vast majority of those infected the symptoms will be "very mild".

Dr Calderwood had previously said that 80% of people in Scotland would have a mild form of the illness but 4% could require hospital treatment.

In the Scottish Parliament on Thursday, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said: "There will be difficult decisions potentially involved in this. Ministers will not take them lightly, equally we will not hesitate in doing exactly what is required to protect the public for as long and as best as we possibly can."