The number of deaths due to COVID-19 within Scotland: FOI release

Information request and response under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002.

Information requested

How many people have died in Scotland because of COVID-19 alone?


Public Health Scotland determines confirmed COVID-19 deaths by linking the daily National Records of Scotland (NRS) file for newly registered deaths and ECOSS data, and defines a confirmed COVID-19 death as an individual who dies within 28 days of their first positive COVID-19 laboratory report. This is the information that is published daily by the Scottish Government showing the daily number of new deaths and the total number of people who have died in Scotland having tested positive. It is published at: Coronavirus (COVID-19): daily data for Scotland - ( This data gives a quicker indication of what is happening day by day and are broadly comparable with the figures released daily for the UK by the Department for Health and Social Care.

National Records of Scotland (NRS) provide a weekly summary each Wednesday which includes the cumulative total of all deaths where Covid-19 was mentioned on the death certificate (including suspected COVID-19 deaths) up to 3 days before publication of the report. This is published at: Deaths involving coronavirus (COVID-19) in Scotland | National Records of Scotland (

These deaths do not all need to have a lab positive result as they include deaths where the certifying doctor recorded that COVID-19 was a probable or suspected cause of death on the death certificate. Using the complete death certificate allows NRS to analyse a lot of information, such as location of death and what other health conditions contributed to the death. Each month, NRS publish detailed analysis, including information on the main pre-existing medical condition in deaths involving COVID-19. From this analysis it is possible to identify those deaths where there was no pre-existing conditions, see Figure 9 data at

About FOI

The Scottish Government is committed to publishing all information released in response to Freedom of Information requests. View all FOI responses at


Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Phone: 0300 244 4000

The Scottish Government
St Andrews House
Regent Road

Back to top