COVID-19 related deaths: FOI release

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

Information requested

Figures for Scotland similar to what the UK Government has issued regarding deaths as a result of Covid (previously reported as "with Covid").


There are two different measures on the number of deaths in Scotland involving Covid-19.

Scottish Government daily updates - these are provided by Health Protection Scotland (HPS) and count:

  • all people who have had a positive test for COVID-19 and died within 28 days of their first positive test.

These are important because they are available earlier, and give 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.

These figures are updated daily Monday to Friday and are available from our website here: Coronavirus (COVID-19): trends in daily data - (

National Records of Scotland (NRS) weekly death totals.

The figures in this publication count:

  • all deaths where COVID-19 was mentioned on the death certificate by the doctor who certified the death. This includes cases where the doctor noted that there was suspected or probable coronavirus infection involved in the death.

As a result these weekly totals are likely to be higher than the daily figures - because the daily updates only include those who tested positive for the virus. 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.

NRS weekly deaths are published here Deaths involving coronavirus (COVID-19) in Scotland | National Records of Scotland ( and every week include figures both where Covid-19 was mentioned on the death certificate (Table 1) as well as where Covid-19 was determined to be the underlying cause of death (Table 3). Every month, NRS also publish more comprehensive analyses which includes Covid-19 deaths with pre-existing medical conditions (see Fig 9 in their latest publication from 14 April 14.xlsx).

Under section 25(1) of FOISA, we do not have to give you information which is already reasonably accessible to you. If, however, you do not have internet access to obtain this information from the website(s) listed, then please contact me again and I will send you a paper copy.

Should you have further queries regarding these data you may wish to contact National Records of Scotland directly. 

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

The Scottish Government
St Andrews House
Regent Road

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