2020 coronavirus pandemic in Scotland

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2020 coronavirus pandemic in Scotland
DiseaseCOVID-19
Virus strainSARS-CoV-2
LocationScotland
First outbreakNorthern Italy (local)[1]
Wuhan, China (global)
Index caseTayside
Arrival date1 March 2020
(1 month and 6 days)
Confirmed cases3,706[2][3]
Active cases?
Suspected cases?
Severe cases197 in ICU
1,590 patients in hospital with confirmed or suspected Covid-19 symptoms
Recovered?
Deaths
220[2][3]
Official website
Coronavirus in Scotland
Suspected cases have not been confirmed as being due to this strain by laboratory tests, although some other strains may have been ruled out.

The 2019–2020 coronavirus pandemic was first confirmed to have spread to Scotland on 1 March 2020 with the positive test of a male Tayside resident who recently travelled to and from northern Italy. [4] Scottish coronavirus cases are also included in the 2020 coronavirus pandemic in the United Kingdom.

As of 5 April 2020, a total of 23,143 people in Scotland have been tested for COVID-19. 3,706 tests were confirmed positive. 19,437 tests were confirmed negative. 220 patients who tested positive have died.

Timeline[edit]

COVID-19 cases in Scotland  ()
     Deaths        Active cases

Mar Mar Apr Apr Last 15 days Last 15 days

Date
# of cases
2020-03-02
1(+1) (+100%)
2020-03-03
1
2020-03-04
3(+2) (+200%)
2020-03-05
6(+3) (+100%)
2020-03-06
11(+5) (+83%)
2020-03-07
16(+5) (+45%)
2020-03-08
18(+2) (+13%)
2020-03-09
23(+5) (+28%)
2020-03-10
27(+4) (+17%)
2020-03-11
36(+9) (+33%)
2020-03-12
60(+24) (+67%)
2020-03-13
85(+25) (+60%)
2020-03-14
121(+36) (+42%)
2020-03-15
153(+32) (+10%)
2020-03-16
171(+18) (+12%)
2020-03-17
195(+24) (+14%)
2020-03-18
227(+32) (+16%)
2020-03-19
266(+39) (+17%)
2020-03-20
322(+56) (+21%)
2020-03-21
373(+51) (+16%)
2020-03-22
416(+43) (+12%)
2020-03-23
499(+83) (+20%)
2020-03-24
584(+85) (+17%)
2020-03-25
719(+135) (+23%)
2020-03-26
894(+175) (+24%)
2020-03-27
1059(+165) (+18%)
2020-03-28
1245(+186) (+18%)
2020-03-29
1384(+139) (+11%)
2020-03-30
1563(+179) (+13%)
2020-03-31
1993(+430) (+28%)
2020-04-01
2310(+317) (+16%)
2020-04-02
2602(+292) (+13%)
2020-04-03
3001(+399) (+15%)
2020-04-04
3345(+344) (+11%)
2020-04-05
3706(+361) (+11%)
2020-04-06
3961(+255) (+7%)
Sources: various news sources and NHS Scotland

January–February 2020[edit]

In late January, five people were tested for COVID-19 in Scotland, all returning negative as an incident team was established for the disease.[5] By 10 February, 57 tests had been conducted (all negatives),[6] a figure which rose to 412 by 25 February.[7] COVID-19 was made into a "notifiable disease" on 22 February,[8] and a surveillance network involving 41 GP locations was established to submit samples of suspected patients, even if they had no travel history.[9]

March 2020[edit]

Goods sold out following panic buying in a supermarket in Morningside, Edinburgh.

The first confirmed case of COVID-19 in Scotland was on 1 March, when a resident of Tayside tested positive for the disease. The person had then recently travelled to Italy. At that time, since the outbreak began in Wuhan, there had been 698 tests resulting negative for the disease.[10] Two further cases were confirmed on 4 March, one having travelled from Italy and the other having had contact with a known carrier.[11][12] Three further cases were confirmed on 5 March[13] and by 6 March, the number of confirmed cases had increased to 11.[14] This had more than doubled to 23 cases by 9 March, out of 2,101 tests conducted.[15]

On 13 March, the first death from COVID-19 in Scotland was confirmed, of an elderly patient with underlying health conditions. At the time, 85 cases of the disease had been confirmed out of 3,314 tests conducted.[16] By 16 March, 171 cases had been confirmed from 4,895 tests, with positive cases being reported by all health boards of NHS Scotland except in NHS Orkney and NHS Western Isles.[17]

As of 24 March 16 patients with confirmed cases of COVID-19 have died.[3] Approximately 0.17% of the population has been tested as of 23 March 2020. However those showing symptoms have been advised to stay at home and are still not being tested.

On the 25th of March, the First Minister confirmed that the Scottish Government was establishing a COVID-19 Advisory group to would supplement the advice it was receiving from the UK-wide Scientific Advisory Group on Emergencies. It is being chaired by Professor Andrew Morris of Edinburgh University, the Director of Health Research UK, with support from vice chair David Crossman, who is the Dean of Medicine at the University of St Andrews and Chief Scientific Advisor for Health at the Scottish Government [18]

As of 26 March it was announced that 25 deaths have been reported.[19]

April 2020[edit]

Late on the 5th of April, despite initially saying she would stay in office, Scotland's chief medical officer, Dr Catherine Calderwood, resigned after making two trips to her second home, breaking the coronavirus lockdown she and First Minister Sturgeon had encouraged.[20]

Health Care[edit]

Primary care network[edit]

Health Secretary Jeane Freeman said in a statement in the Scottish Parliament a network of Covid-19 local assessment centres was to be set up across Scotland with 50 planned in the first wave.[21][22][23][24] A network of "humanitarian assistance centres" is also to be set up, working with GPs and other local partners to arrange delivery of medicine, care services and grocery delivery.[25]

Personal protective equipment[edit]

On 2 April, new guidance on appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) for healthcare hospital, general practice, ambulance and social care workers responding to Covid-19 has been issued by officials.[26]

Care homes[edit]

Thirteen residents at the Glasgow-based Burlington Care Home have died in one week following a suspected outbreak of coronavirus. The Care Inspectorate has been made aware of the deaths and are in contact with the care service, as well as the local health and social care partnership.[27]

Hospital capacity[edit]

Scotland has an estimated 3,000 hospital beds expected to be available for coronavirus patients in hospitals across Scotland.[28]

ICU capacity across Scotland has doubled to 360 beds since the emergency began, 250 of which will be for the exclusive use of coronavirus patients, with that number expected to increase to more than 500 in the first week of April as preparations continue towards eventually quadrupling the number to more than 700 ICU beds.[29]

The NHS Louisa Jordan emergency coronavirus hospital facility at the SEC Centre will initially have capacity for 300 patients, which could be expanded in the future to more than 1,000.[30]

Scottish hospitals plan to have around 1,000 ventilators by the summer for coronavirus patients.[31]

By 24th March, more than 3,000 retired Scottish nurses, doctors and other medical workers have volunteered to return to work as part of efforts to help the NHS cope. As well as using retired workers, all final year nursing and midwifery students will also be given paid work placements on wards during the final six months of their degree programmes.[32]

By 1 April 2020, NHS clinical and technical staff have converted over 200 anaesthetic machines into ventilators to increase ICU bed availability to more than 500, tripling the usual capacity.[33]

NHS staffing levels[edit]

As of 2 April, more than 14% of NHS Scotland staff are currently off work, according to Scottish government data and about 41% of those absences (equating to 9,719 people) are related to coronavirus. NHS Scotland's total workforce is about 166,000 people.[34]

Scottish Government[edit]

The key government officals in Scotland are:

  • Chief Scientist: Professor David Crossman
  • Chief Medical Officer: Dr Gregor Smith
  • Chief Nursing Officer Professor Fiona McQueen
  • Deputy Chief Medical Officer: Dr Gregor Smith
  • National Clinical Director Professor Jason Leitch

Dr Catherine Calderwood was Chief Medical Officer until Sunday 5th April, after a leaked photo of her and her family at her holiday home in Fife on the 4th of April which goes against the actions she had laided out for country to fight the spread of COVID-19. In a briefing, she acknowledged her mistakes and revealed that she had in fact went to the holiday home in March as well, during the Lockdown. On the 4th of April, Dr Cathrine Calderwoods attempted to hand in her resignation after the photos were released, however the First Minister Nicola Sturgeon refused her resignation at first. After a large media backlash, Nicola accepted her resignation on the night of the 5th and replaced her with the then Deputy Chief Medical Officer, Dr Gregor Smith.

Containment Measures[edit]

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced a ban on mass gatherings (500 or more) on 12 March, with the ban starting on 16 March.[35] A number of schools have been closed due to reported symptoms, and would be undergoing deep cleaning.[36] Football matches in the Scottish Professional Football League were cancelled until further notice, alongside a Six Nations game between Wales and Scotland. Radio 1's Big Weekend, which was due to take place in Dundee in May 2020 was cancelled in response to the outbreak.[37] On 18 March, it was announced that schools in Scotland would be closed starting on 20 March.[38]

Advisory group[edit]

On March 25, the Scottish Government set up an expert advisory group to help develop and improve its COVID-19 response plan. [39]

Public health agency[edit]

The new Public Health Scotland agency was launched by the Scottish Government on 1 April 2020.

Clinical research[edit]

Organisations in Scotland involved in COVID-19 related clinical research studies[40] include the Chief Scientist Office's Rapid Research in Covid-19 programme (RARC-19 programme)[41], Health Science Scotland, NHS Research Scotland[42], Glasgow University[43], Dundee University[44][45] [46], Edinburgh University.[47]

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced a ban on mass gatherings (500 or more) on 12 March, with the ban starting on 16 March.[48] A number of schools have been closed due to reported symptoms, and would be undergoing deep cleaning.[49] Football matches in the Scottish Professional Football League were cancelled until further notice, alongside a Six Nations game between Wales and Scotland. Radio 1's Big Weekend, which was due to take place in Dundee in May 2020 was cancelled in response to the outbreak.[37] On 18 March, it was announced that schools in Scotland would be closed starting on 20 March.[50]

Testing capacity[edit]

NHS Scotland's testing capacity for COVID-19 increased from around 750 a day in early March[51] to about 1,900 a day in early April.[52]

By March 15, coronavirus testing was extended into Scotland's communities but there were to be no routine testing of people with minor symptoms.[53]

NHS Scotland plans to reach a testing capacity of around 3,500 a day by the end of April.[54][55]

Glasgow University is to launch a major coronavirus testing facility in mid-April, staffed 24/7 by more than 500 volunteers including molecular scientists, technicians and bioinformaticians.

Aberdeen University has provided three machines to NHS Grampian to speed up coronavirus testing.[56]

By 2 April 2020, around 3,500 tests have been conducted on NHS workers and family members in Scotland. It was also reported in that week that around 6pc of Scotland's frontline NHS staff are not currently working, either because they have coronavirus symptoms or live with someone who has.[57]

Chief Medical Officer for Scotland Catherine Calderwood described mass testing as a distraction that will not slow down the spread of the virus. She said: "I have been saying and advising the First Minister and the Cabinet Secretary for several weeks now about the distraction that I think the focus on testing may become. The testing is extremely useful but it is only going to be positive within a short window of perhaps 48 to 72 hours while somebody has symptoms, because there needs to be an amount of virus in that person to be able for that to be detected. But the thought that the testing in some way slows the virus or is a part of our strategy to prevent transmission is a fallacy, I’m afraid. The testing gives us more information but the social distancing and all of these stringent measures are what we actually need to prevent spread and prevent serious illnesses and death."[58] [59]

Cam Donaldson, a health economist and Pro Vice Chancellor Research, Glasgow Caledonian University has written of his scepticism of a "mass testing" strategy. [60]

A coronavirus testing facility for NHS staff was opened at Glasgow Airport car park on April 5th.[61]

Reactions[edit]

Contact tracing[edit]

Ciaran Jenkins of Channel 4 News contrasted the differing approaches on contact-tracing strategy between the Republic of Ireland and the health authorities in the UK including Scotland's.[62][63]

Public Hygiene[edit]

Glasgow Taxi Owners' Association urged taxi drivers to be careful during the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, after hearing reports of drivers falling ill.[64] In addition, the Daily Record reported comments made by a Scottish nurse who warned drivers to take precautions at petrol stations.[65]

Volunteer campaign[edit]

A new 'Scotland Cares' campaign was launched on Monday 30 March to encourage people to volunteer during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. More than 21,000 people signed up on the first day. By 4 April, the number of registrations to volunteer stood at 50,330. Cabinet Secretary for Social Security and Older People Shirley-Anne Somerville said: “The response to the Scotland Cares campaign has been outstanding and I want to thank each and every person who has signed up to volunteer during the coronavirus outbreak. Your support at this critical time is invaluable and will make a huge difference over the coming weeks and months."[66][67]

People who are healthy and not at risk can volunteer via the Ready Scotland website.[68]

"At risk" population[edit]

Those in high risk vulnerable groups can register for deliveries of food and medicine from 3rd April. This includes around 120,000 people in Scotland who are advised to shield[69] themselves at home (12 weeks of self-isolation) such as the elderly, those with suppressed/compromised immune systems and those with underlying health conditions.

Prisons[edit]

On 2 April, BBC Scotland said it found almost a quarter of Scottish Prison Service staff are absent from work amid the coronavirus outbreak. The SPS said 110 prisoners over 11 sites were self-isolating. At that time, two had tested positive for Covid-19.[70]

Eductaion[edit]

As of 19 March 2020, the Robert Gordon University, Edinburgh Napier University, University of Dundee, University of Glasgow, University of the West of Scotland, Glasgow Caledonian University, Aberdeen University, Edinburgh University, University of Stirling and University of Strathclyde had cancelled or suspended face-to-face classes. Scottish political parties (Green, Conservatives, SNP) also cancelled their spring conferences.[37]

Statistics[edit]

COVID-19 cases in Scotland by health board area ()

Date A&A BOR D&G FIF FV GRA GGC HLD LAN LOT ORK SHE TAY WES Confirmed Tested Deaths Sources
New Total New Total New Total
2020/03/02 1 1 1 N/A N/A [71]
2020/03/03 1 N/A N/A
2020/03/04 1 1 2 3 N/A 1,046 [72] [73]
2020/03/05 1 1 1 3 6 210 1,256 [74] [75]
2020/03/06 2 1 1 1 5 11 269 1,525 [76]
2020/03/07 1 1 2 1 5 16 155 1,680 [77]
2020/03/08 1 1 2 18 277 1,957 [78]
2020/03/09 1 2 2 5 23 144 2,101 [79]
2020/03/10 2 2 4 27 133 2,234 [80]
2020/03/11 2 2 2 1 1 1 9 36 82 2,316 [81]
2020/03/12 1 1 4 1 5 3 3 4 2 24 60 576 2,892 [82]
2020/03/13 1 1 4 11 9 −1 25 85 422 3,314 1 1 [83] [84]
2020/03/14 2 2 2 0 –2 10 1 3 5 5 8 36 121 401 3,715 1 [85]
2020/03/15 0 2 1 4 3 7 1 6 3 0 4 32 153 525 4,240 1 [86]
2020/03/16 1 1 5 4 1 4 2 18 171 655 4,895 1 [87]
2020/03/17 −1 2 14 5 3 1 1 −4 3 24 195 351 5,246 1 2 [88]
2020/03/18 3 3 1 3 2 8 4 3 1 7 32 227 845 6,091 1 3 [89]
2020/03/19 3 1 2 1 2 −6 16 1 8 2 8 3 39 266 681 6,772 3 6 [90]
2020/03/20 4 1 4 3 6 1 20 8 5 4 56 322 778 7,550 6 [91]
2020/03/21 5 1 3 1 4 1 19 2 8 4 0 3 51 373 709 8,259 1 7 [92]
2020/03/22 4 1 3 3 3 3 20 2 4 43 416 420 8,679 3 10 [93]
2020/03/23 9 1 2 3 10 1 22 4 9 13 0 9 83 499 685 9,364 4 14 [94]
2020/03/24 7 0 8 6 3 0 31 1 17 11 0 1 85 584 604 9,968 2 16 [95]
2020/03/25 16 3 5 4 16 5 38 9 12 18 0 9 135 719 708 10,676 6 22 [96]
2020/03/26 17 8 8 11 20 2 37 7 27 23 0 19 175 894 811 11,487 3 25 [97]
2020/03/27 1 5 8 1 6 14 41 4 26 28 0 31 165 1,059 786 12,273 8 33 [98]
2020/03/28 15 7 13 10 14 7 77 3 25 12 3 0 186 1,245 860 13,133 7 40 [99]
2020/03/29 18 15 3 7 −1 10 25 6 19 37 0 0 139 1,384 756 13,889 1 41 [100]
2020/03/30 46 13 11 12 9 4 48 2 13 20 0 1 179 1,563 735 14,624 6 47 [101]
2020/03/31 23 14 18 6 28 20 98 7 47 61 2 106 430 1,993 1,271 15,895 13 60 [102]
2020/04/01 22 10 8 20 15 22 85 7 40 42 2 1 40 3 317 2,310 1,112 17,007 16 76 [103]
2020/04/02 22 6 4 23 26 20 50 7 36 45 0 0 53 0 292 2,602 1,121‬ 18,128 50 126 [104]
2020/04/03 19 7 18 28 17 45 97 7 57 52 0 6 46 0 399 3,001 1,407 19,535 46 172 [105]
2020/04/04 14 10 5 26 19 4 52 13 50 68 2 4 57 0 344‬ 3,345 1,263 20,798 46 218 [106]
2020/04/05 13 20 14 27 18 17 80 14 51 58 0 1 47 1 361‬ 3,706 2,345 23,143 2 220 [107]
2020/04/06 21 9 3 27 5 15 53 3 34 43 0 0 42 0 255 3,961 893 24,036 2 222 [108]
Total 288 139 144 227 231 209 984 102 512 577 4 41 499 4 N/A 3,961 N/A 24,036 N/A 222 [109]

Graphs[edit]

Please note these figures for new cases can not be taken as accurate as only those with severe symptoms are being tested at present.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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