Coronavirus (COVID-19) update: First Minister's statement - 4 March 2021

Parliamentary statement given by the First Minister Nicola Sturgeon at the Scottish Parliament, Edinburgh on Thursday 4 March 2021.

I will give a very quick update on today’s statistics.

500 new cases were reported yesterday. That’s 2.5 percent of all tests that were carried out.

And the total number of cases is now 204,055.

726 people are in hospital with, that’s 24 fewer than yesterday.

And 69 people in intensive care, which is one fewer than yesterday.

I regret to report that in the past 24 hours, a further 24 deaths were registered.

And in addition to that, three other deaths that were registered recently, but not yet included in the published total,  have been added.

So those three deaths, together with the 24 registered yesterday, mean that the total number of people who have sadly died using our daily measurement is now 7,398.

Once again, I want to send my deepest condolences to all those who have lost a loved one.

We will also publish the latest estimate of the R number later today, and expect it to show again that the R number is below 1.

And that reflects the positive trends that we can all see in the daily figures right now.

And I’ll also just give a quick update on the vaccination programme.

As of 08.30 this morning, 1,688,808 people have received their first dose of the vaccine. That is an increase of 26,729 since yesterday.

In addition, 100,058 people have also now received their second dose. That’s an increase of 7,508 since yesterday. Which means that in total yesterday, 34,237 people received vaccinations.

95% of 65 to 69-year-olds have now had a first dose, as have 37% of 60 to 64-year-olds, 31% of 55 to 59-year-olds, and 26% of 50 to 54-year-olds. An age group that is of particular interest to me, Presiding Officer.

We still expect to be able to offer first doses to everyone over 50, to all unpaid carers, and all adults with an underlying health condition by mid-April.

I think taking all of what I have just reported, there is little doubt that things are at the moment firmly heading in the right direction.

The number of cases is falling, the numbers in hospital are falling, and the vaccination programme is progressing extremely well.

That’s why we’ve been able to set out the timetable for children’s return to school.

And next week, I’ll outline any further changes that we feel we can make at this stage to the level 4 restrictions.

And then the following week, I will provide more information about the timetable for easing restrictions after the 26th of April.

So there’s much to feel optimistic about right now. But I want to stress that that should not see us throw caution to the wind. Case numbers do remain high, and of course the new variant remains highly infectious.

So for the moment, if we want to continue this progress, my advice to everyone is to continue to abide by the stay at home rule.

Stay at home, except for essential purposes. Follow FACTS when you are out.

And make sure that collectively, we  continue to keep everything going in the right direction.

So my thanks to everybody who’s doing that, and sticking with it during these difficult times.

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