Coronavirus: A&E visits plunge as people heed virus advice

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The number of people showing up at A&E in Scotland dropped by almost a third in the week leading up to the lockdown restrictions, new figures show.

In the week ending 22 March there were 16,425 attendances, down from almost 24,000 the previous week.

The strict lockdown measures were not introduced until the day after these figures.

But the public had already been warned to take measures to try to relieve the stress on the NHS.

The latest figures show 92.2% of patients who attended A&E were dealt with within the four-hour target.

However, 93 patients spent more than 8 hours in an A&E department and 19 spent more than 12 hours.

Health Secretary Jeane Freeman said: "I want to thank Scotland's health and social care staff for their work to continue providing an exceptional level of care during these extraordinary times.

"The number of attendances to A&E this week was the lowest on record since weekly reporting began. This is due in part to people heeding our advice to access the most appropriate service during the COVID-19 outbreak, and only attend A&E if your illness is immediate or life threatening."