Coronavirus (COVID-19) update: First Minister's statement 20 January 2021

Parliamentary statement given by the First Minister Nicola Sturgeon on Wednesday 20 January 2021.

I will give a short update on today’s figures.

1,656 positive cases were reported yesterday, which is 7.5% of all tests carried out. The total number of cases therefore is now 166,583.

As of yesterday 309,909 people had received their first dose of vaccine.

There are currently 2,003 people in hospital, which is 14 more than yesterday, and 156 people are in intensive care, which is 6 more than yesterday.

I very much regret to report that in the past 24 hours, a further 92 deaths were registered of patients who had first tested positive over the previous 28 days.  The total number of people who have died under that daily measurement is 5,468.

National Records of Scotland has also just published its weekly update, that of course includes cases where Covid is a suspected or contributory cause of death, even if it hasn’t been confirmed through a test.

Today’s update shows that by last Sunday, the total number of registered deaths linked to Covid under the wider definition was 7,448.

368 of those deaths were registered in the most recent week, which is 23 fewer than in the week before that.

240 of last week’s deaths took place in hospital, 97 in care homes, 4 in a different institutional setting, and 27 occurred at home or in another non-institutional setting.

Of course every one of these deaths is a source of heartbreak to loved-ones and so again, I send my condolences to everybody who is grieving.

The figures I’ve reported today demonstrate the seriousness of the situation we continue to face.

As a result of the lockdown restrictions, as I reported to Parliament yesterday case numbers appear to have stabilised – and indeed they may even be declining. But as we see again today they remain too high.

Hospital admissions are 30% higher now than at the peak of the first wave last April. And while admissions to intensive care are below the first wave peak they have almost doubled since the turn of the year.

All of this means that our NHS is under severe pressure. And given the number of new cases over the past couple of weeks that pressure is almost certain to increase.

It is therefore vital that we do everything we can to protect our NHS – by slowing the spread of the virus and bringing case numbers down.

That’s why we confirmed yesterday that lockdown restrictions will remain in place until at least the middle of February. And of course it's why it is so important that all of us continue to comply with them.

Put simply, that means we need to stay home.

We should only leave home for essential purposes such as caring responsibilities, essential shopping, work that can’t be done from home, and essential exercise.  

We should not have people from other households in our houses and we should not go into theirs.

We should all work from home if we possibly can.

And on any occasion when we are required to leave home we should remember FACTS.

  • face coverings when doing essential shopping or out for other reasons;
  • avoid places that are busy;
  • clean hands and surfaces;
  • use two-metre distancing if you are with someone from another household;
  • and self-isolate and get tested if you have symptoms.

Fundamentally though the best means of keeping ourselves safe right now, is to stay at home as much as possible.

So please stay at home, protect the NHS and save lives.

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