The number of people who died with confirmed or suspected Covid-19 in Scotland has fallen for a fourth consecutive week.
A total of 3,779 coronavirus-related deaths had been recorded in the country as of May 24 according to National Records of Scotland (NRS) figures.
There were 230 deaths related to Covid-19 registered between May 18 and 24, a decrease of 105 from the previous seven days and the fourth consecutive weekly drop.
The majority of coronavirus-linked deaths across Scotland in the week to May 24 were in care homes at 54%, down from 55% the previous week.
The number of deaths in care homes also fell for a fourth week in a row, down by 62 in a week to 124.
The NRS figures are published weekly and account for all fatalities registered in Scotland when Covid-19 is mentioned on the death certificate.
They differ from the lab-confirmed coronavirus deaths announced daily by the Scottish Government using Health Protection Scotland (HPS) figures because they include suspected or probable cases of Covid-19.
The total number of deaths registered in Scotland from May 18 to 24 was 1,223, 17% higher than the average number of deaths registered in the same week over the last five years, (1,045.)
There were fewer deaths from respiratory diseases, circulatory conditions and dementia and Alzheimer’s compared to the average for this time of year.
As a result, the number of deaths when Covid-19 was the underlying cause – 212 – was greater than the total number of excess deaths for this time of year.
The NRS figures also show 41% of registered deaths involving Covid-19 between May 18 and 24 were in hospitals, up from 38% the previous week, while 4% were at home or in non-institutional settings, down from 5% the week before.
Pete Whitehouse, director of statistical services, said: “Every death from this virus is a tragedy.
“These statistics, alongside the other important evidence being made available by the Scottish Government and Health Protection Scotland (HPS), are valuable to the understanding of the progress and impact of the COVID-19 virus across Scotland.
“These latest figures show that for the fourth week running there has been a reduction in Covid-19-related deaths.”
Speaking about the NRS figures, Nicola Sturgeon told MSPs at Holyrood: “These trends, which have now been sustained for over four weeks, do definitely give us grounds for encouragement.
“The weekly number of Covid deaths has fallen by more than 60% from its peak.
“Excess deaths have reduced more than three-quarters and deaths in care homes are also falling.”
She added: “Tomorrow, we will take a formal decision on whether to begin cautiously to emerge from lockdown.
“Any early steps are likely to focus on outdoor activities and we will provide full information on what businesses should and should not be doing.
“But I stress even if some restrictions are relaxed later this week it will continue to be essential to follow guidance – for example, to stay two metres apart from people from other households and to self-isolate if you have symptoms.”