There are likely to be thousands of cases of coronavirus in Scotland just now.

The Health Secretary, Jeane Freeman, gave figures showing that the real number could be at least five times higher than the latest official figures show.

She said the method of estimating the real spread in the community means there could be more than 2500 people with the virus in Scotland just now .

Ms Freeman explained the numbers.

She said: “For the number in intensive care you multiply it by 100. At the moment we have 25 in ICU, so that’s 2,500.

“Now our scientific and clinical advisers would tell us that is probably an underestimate.

“But until we get the surveillance data properly that is the measure we run on just now.”

Currently the official figures, from yesterday, are 4584 confirmed cases and 16 people have died.

There have been 9968 people tested so far.

Glasgow has around 30% of the total cases in Scotland with 183 confirmed as positive. The calculations outlined by Ms Freeman means there is likely to be almost 1000 people with the virus in the city.

Ms Freeman said that 80% of those infected would experience mild symptoms and fully recover. The rest would need some treatment and around 19% of those would need hospitalization. Of those needing hospital treatment half would likely need invasive treatments like oxygen.

She said the government was trying to understand the “level of spread” in the community of people who feel unwell but don’t know if its coronavirus.

Ms Freeman was giving evidence to the Scottish Parliament Health Committee on the NHS efforts to deal with the pandemic the day after Nicola Sturgeon and Boris Johnson announced strict new measures on people’s movement and contacts to try and stop the spread of the virus.

She said they are working to find “what is the degree of grip the virus has in the community. That will determine the level of what we are asking people not to do.”

She said the network of assessment centres being set up will do that to allow GPs to continue to treat non coronavirus illnesses.

Ms Freeman said there will be a test available “in the near future” to determine whether people had antibodies to coronavirus.

This she said, will allow those who have already recovered from the virus to be given the all-clear, which could have positive implications for the NHS workforce.

She added that within 24 of asking, 400 people with previous NHS experience had come forward making contact expressing a desire to return to the workforce.