Coronavirus: Death of first Scottish patient with Covid-19 confirmed

  • Published
Virus picImage source, Getty Images

The first death of a patient after contracting coronavirus in Scotland has been confirmed.

Chief Medical Officer Catherine Calderwood said the individual was elderly and had underlying health conditions.

It comes as Glasgow University announced that three people had tested positive for the virus.

The number of cases in Scotland is now 85.

On Friday, Ms Calderwood said: "I am saddened to report that a patient in Scotland who has tested positive for coronavirus has died in hospital."

"I offer my deepest sympathy to their friends and family at this difficult time.

"The patient, who was being treated by Lothian Health Board was an older person who had underlying health conditions.

"No further information will be available to protect patient confidentiality."

The Scottish football season has been suspended indefinitely, along with Scotland's Six Nations match against Wales in Cardiff.

And on Saturday, the Edinburgh Marathon Festival, which had been due to take place on 23 and 24 May, was postponed.

Neil Kilgour, Edinburgh Marathon's race director said "We are devastated to have to make this decision but we believe that this course of action is in the best interests of our participants, our affiliate charities, the event team who deliver the event and the emergency services who support the event."

He said the organisers hoped to be able to announce a new date on Monday.

Radio 1's Big Weekend festival, which was due to take place in Dundee from 22-24 May, has also been cancelled.

In other developments:

  • On Monday all schools in mainland Shetland will close for a week
  • Glasgow University said all exams scheduled for April and May would now be held remotely
  • Aberdeen University has suspended face-to-face teaching
  • The University of the West of Scotland is asking students not to attend its campuses from Monday.
  • Some Scottish political parties have announced that their spring conferences have been cancelled due to the pandemic
  • Aye Right, one of Scotland's largest book festivals, will also not take place as planned
  • NHS Lanarkshire has taken the decision to restrict visiting times at all hospitals from 15:00 to 16:00 and 19:00 to 20:00
  • Health Secretary Jeane Freeman has written to care home providers advising them that people should only make "essential visits" and that residents should be isolated in their rooms.
  • And in New York the annual Tartan Day parade on 6 April has been called off

Across Scotland the number of patients testing positive for Covid-19 increase by 25 over the past 24 hours, with the figure for Greater Glasgow and Clyde more than doubling, from 10 to 21.

A sharp rise was also recorded in Lothian, from 11 to 20.

To date 3,229 tests have been carried out.

Health Secretary Jeane Freeman has asked health boards to detail their plans to increase capacity in hospitals ahead of the expected increase in the number of cases.

Ms Freeman said: "We have been clear from the outset about the challenges our health service is going to face in the weeks and possibly months to come.

"With our focus very much on seeking to delay the spread to reduce the peak impact and protect the most vulnerable, planning around NHS capacity is vital."

She added that non-urgent care would be scaled down over the next two to three weeks in a bid to double intensive care capacity.

Ms Freeman will make a further statement to the Scottish Parliament on Tuesday.

Coronavirus in Scotland. .  .

Elsewhere, a student at St Andrews University, who had recently been in Switzerland, has tested positive for coronavirus and is in self-isolation.

A Scottish MP Dr Lisa Cameron is self-isolating after showing symptoms of coronavirus.

She announced the move on Twitter and said she had been forced to cancel her constituency surgeries on medical advice.

The SNP MP for East Kilbride, Strathaven and Lesmahagow, who had been in a debate with Tory mental health minister Nadine Dorries - who has tested positive for the virus - reported feeling fatigued and developed a dry cough and swollen glands.

Image source, UK Parliament
Image caption,
Dr Lisa Cameron is an SNP MP for East Kilbride, Strathaven and Lesmahagow

A secondary school in South Lanarkshire has closed temporarily due to a Covid-19 case.

The individual from Lanark Grammar School is self-isolating at home and the school is due to reopen on Monday after a deep clean.

The number of UK cases rose to 798, up from 590 on Thursday, when it was confirmed Britain had moved into the "delay" phase in its response to the outbreak.

All elite football in England has also been suspended until at least 3 April as a result of the spread of coronavirus.

All Camanachd Association shinty has also been postponed.

NHS 24 said the coronavirus helpline took more than 11,000 calls in a 24-hour period.

Over the past week demand for the 111 service and the special helpline has more than doubled its normal call volume to 56,000.

NHS 24 has asked people to visit the coronavirus section of its website in the first instance.

New advice, which came into effect on Friday, is for people with symptoms of the virus - namely a fever or a new, persistent cough - to stay at home for a period of seven days but not to call their GP or NHS 24 unless their condition deteriorates.

Image source, Getty Images
Image caption,
More than 3,200 coronavirus tests have been carried out in Scotland

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said on Thursday that widespread school closures were not yet necessary - but from next week restrictions would be placed on gatherings of more than 500 people because of the demands these would place on frontline staff such as ambulance crews.

Earlier, national clinical director Jason Leitch, told BBC Scotland the guidance over mass gatherings had been a judgement call in order to ensure "we have all the staff and equipment we could possibly need" rather than a bid to halt the virus spreading.

Mr Leitch said there were no current plans to close schools and this would only change, "when we come to the point when science tells is it is the right thing to do".

The NHS executive has urged people to continue attending blood banks, adding, "if they are not in the stay-at-home group, we need them to continue to give blood".

A number of court cases in Scotland have already been disrupted because of coronavirus, including trials at the High Court in Glasgow and Forfar Sheriff Court.

The Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service said witnesses, jurors and lawyers should not attend court if they were displaying symptoms or have come into contact with someone with Covid-19.

Witnesses who are unfit should, if possible, obtain a "soul and conscience certificate" which can be emailed to the court, otherwise they risk being the subject of an arrest warrant.

How else is coronavirus affecting Scotland?

  • A number of operations are being rescheduled at Raigmore Hospital in Inverness as a result of the coronavirus outbreak.
  • Lloyds Bank has closed one of its Edinburgh sites after a worker tested positive for coronavirus
  • The Scottish Police Federation said contingency plans for a flu pandemic have been in place for decades. The full details will not be made public but as part of those plans there is likely to be a "significant re-prioritisation" of the types of incidents officers can attend.
  • The Scottish Prison Service said it is trying to operate business as normal and that visits, work parties and leisure access are continuing. Individual prisoners with symptoms have been asked to self-isolate in their cells for seven days.
  • Royal Bank of Scotland/NatWest is asking all office staff to work from home from Monday "where practical to do so" to reduce risk of infection. This does not apply to branches which will remain open.
  • Office staff at Grangemouth Refinery are to work from home from Monday as the site implements "rigorous" measures to combat the virus.
  • Offshore oil and gas industry says installations will be placed on immediate "lockdown" if a worker on board tests positive for coronavirus
  • Loganair has announced a reduction in its flights after a "marked drop" in bookings
Media caption,

Nicola Sturgeon announces advice that all overseas school trips will be cancelled

The Scottish Qualifications Authority has said there will be no changes to the exam timetable "at present".

It urged learners, parents, schools and colleges to "continue to prepare as normal".

All current deadlines for coursework and other assessments remain in place and the exam timetable is currently scheduled to run from 27 April until 4 June.

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