SEC to be turned into hospital and cancer screening halted amid Covid-19 crisis

The Scottish Events Campus (SEC) will be turned into a field hospital and cancer screening programmes will be paused to help the NHS respond to the coronavirus crisis, Nicola Sturgeon has announced.

Scotland’s First Minister revealed the moves as the number of Covid-19 deaths in the country rose to 47, an increase of six on Sunday’s figure.

There are now 108 people in intensive care who either have the virus or are suspected to have it, an increase of 13 in the past 24 hours.

The number of positive coronavirus cases has risen to 1,563 – up 179 from Sunday’s total.

Chief medical officer Dr Catherine Calderwood said the actual number of Scots with the disease is now estimated at more than 100,000.

Routine breast screening has been suspended during the coronavirus outbreak. (Rui Vieira/PA)

Ms Sturgeon said while the temporary hospital might not be needed as the NHS works to increase its capacity, she said it makes sense to act now.

It could be up and running within two weeks, providing 300 extra beds initially, with this potentially increasing to 1,000.

There will be a temporary suspension of breast, bowel and cervical cancer screening programmes, she added.

Speaking at a briefing at the Scottish Government’s headquarters in Edinburgh, the First Minister spoke about efforts to “prepare the NHS for the incredibly difficult weeks that lie ahead”.

She also revealed 10,000 people had responded to the Scotland Cares volunteering campaign, which was launched earlier on Monday, within the first four hours.

This includes about 5,000 former medical and care workers, plus medical students who have put themselves forward to work for either the health or care services.

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