Coronavirus death toll hits 985 but fewer Scots going into intensive care

Nicola Sturgeon said the number of people being admitted to intensive care with coronavirus in Scotland is reducing as she announced the number of people who have died after testing positive for the disease is now 985.

The total number of laboratory confirmed Covid-19 deaths in Scotland was up 70 on Monday’s figure, with 8,672 people testing positive for the virus, up by 222 from the day before.

There are 166 people in intensive care with coronavirus or coronavirus symptoms, a decrease of three on Monday, and 1,866 people are in hospital with confirmed or suspected Covid-19, up from 1,809 yesterday.

Coronavirus – Mon Apr 20, 2020
Coronavirus – Mon Apr 20, 2020

Ms Sturgeon said while she would “urge caution in interpreting the figures”, the number of people being admitted to hospital appears to be “broadly stable” and the numbers being admitted to intensive care “are at this stage reducing”.

She said the fact the NHS is not being overwhelmed is down in part to the lockdown restrictions.

The First Minster’s briefing also looked at the economic impacts of the pandemic.

Referencing figures reported on Tuesday that show a possible contraction of 33% in the Scottish economy, the First Minister said: “Fundamentally, we recognise that in order to protect public health the Government is making extraordinary demands on businesses.

“We appreciate that the onus is on Government to equally do extraordinary things and provide extraordinary support for businesses.”

There will be a “significant increase” in the number of people out of work, she said, which will not be reflected in the labour market statistics published on Tuesday.

Farmer brings giant cattle to Britain
Farmer brings giant cattle to Britain

Ms Sturgeon said the health of the economy must be a factor in the decision to cease the lockdown measures, although she added damage to the economy alone is not enough to open the country again.

She said new regulations will allow police to enforce lockdown measures within workplaces, although she said they will not be “routinely patrolling office blocks”.

It was her hope, she said, that police will use “dialogue” to enforce the laws.

Livestock markets and money advice firms will continue to operate under the new regulations.

Holiday accommodation services will also be allowed to continue their work, taking bookings online or over the phone for future dates not within the lockdown period.

The First Minister stressed a timeline for the end of the lockdown period is not yet known.