Nicola Sturgeon said she expected the number of coronavirus cases to continue to rise for the next two or three weeks.

One week after announcing the “lockdown” measures requiring people to stay at home, the First Minister said that deaths, cases and people in intensive care from coronavirus were now at the “rising rapidly” stage.

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She said that even more hospital capacity, intensive care beds and ventilators were being ordered for the NHS to try and stay ahead of the rise and ensure enough capacity is available to cope with the coming increase.

Ms Sturgeon revealed the biggest rise in deaths so far up 16 from 60 to 76 in 24 hours.

She said there were now 2,310 positive cases of Covid-19 confirmed in Scotland, an increase of 317 on the previous day’s figures.

More than half of the new cases were in Greater Glasgow where the number increased by 183 cases from 449 to 632.

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However, Ms Sturgeon added: “As I have stressed every day, those numbers will be a significant underestimate of the true spread of the virus across the country.”

The First Minister, said: “The numbers that I have given demonstrate that, as expected, we are now at the stage of the epidemic at which the number of cases is rising rapidly.

“Unfortunately, that means that the numbers of people becoming seriously unwell and dying are also, sadly, rising.

“Of course, we hope that the lockdown measures that we are asking people to comply with will have a marked effect on the spread of the virus, and that we will see a slowdown in the next few weeks.

“However, given that these measures take some time to have an impact, it is too early to draw any firm conclusions yet. In any event, we must continue to plan for what will be a considerable impact on the national health service and on wider society.”

Ms Sturgeon said there had been an increase in intensive care patients with confirmed or suspected Covid-19, from 51 in intensive care this time last week to 147 as of Tuesday night and an increase from 135 the day before.

She announced the measures being taken to significantly increase resources available to the NHS.

The NHS is now working to quadruple intensive care capacity to more than 700 beds for Covid-19 patients.

Ventilators have been ordered from a range of manufacturers and the First Minister said she expected them to arrive over the coming weeks.

To bridge any gaps between now and the delivery NHS boards have been repurposing operating theatre anaesthetic machines for use as ventilators.

She said it would allow, over the next week or so, to rapidly increase capacity to more than 500 intensive care beds for Covid-19 patients.


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