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First coronavirus death confirmed in Scotland as cases rise to 85

Chief Medical Officer Dr Catherine Calderwood said she was ‘saddened to report’ a patient in NHS Lothian had died.

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The first patient with coronavirus has died in Scotland (PA)

The first patient with coronavirus has died in Scotland (PA)

The first patient with coronavirus has died in Scotland (PA)

The first death of a coronavirus patient has been confirmed in Scotland, as the pandemic saw all football matches postponed and other events called off.

Scotland’s Chief Medical Officer Dr Catherine Calderwood said she was “saddened to report” a patient being treated for Covid-19 had died.

She said the patient, who was being treated by NHS Lothian, was an older person with pre-existing medical conditions.

It came as the number of cases in Scotland increased to 85.

Dr Calderwood said: “I am saddened to report that a patient in Scotland who has tested positive for coronavirus has died in hospital. I offer my deepest sympathy to their friends and family at this difficult time.

“The patient, who was being treated by Lothian health board, was an older person who had underlying health conditions. No further information will be available to protect patient confidentiality.”

Confirmation of the first death in Scotland came after the SPFL announced the postponement of all fixtures from Friday, with this Sunday’s Old Firm clash between Rangers and Celtic at Ibrox among those affected.

In addition, the Wales v Scotland Six Nations game in Cardiff on Saturday has been postponed, while the Aye Write literary festival in Glasgow this month has been cancelled along with Radio 1’s Big Weekend in Dundee – which was due to take place in May.

The latest test figures show 3,314 people have been checked for Covid-19, with 3,229 of those tests proving negative and 85 positive – a rise of 25 on Thursday’s total.

Greater Glasgow and Clyde now has the highest number of confirmed cases with 21, followed by Lothian with 20 and Grampian with 11.

Tayside, Lanarkshire, Ayrshire and Arran, Forth Valley, Fife, Shetland and the Borders health boards also have confirmed cases.

The Scottish FA said it had made the decision to suspend games in the interests of the health and safety of players, match officials, staff, supporters and the general public.

SFA chief executive Ian Maxwell said: “Today’s announcement is made in the interests of public health but, equally, the health and safety of players, match officials, and staff across the game. This is of paramount importance as the country enters the ‘delay’ phase of the coronavirus pandemic.

Neil Doncaster, SPFL chief executive, said while there are currently no confirmed cases of coronavirus amongst players in Scotland, the nature of the outbreak meant it seems “only a matter of time” until there are.

On Thursday, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced large gatherings which require emergency service support or could impact the health service would cease from Monday in Scotland to “remove unnecessary burdens” on front-line services.

However Professor Jason Leitch, who is responsible for planning in the Scottish NHS, said on Friday that more “draconian measures” such as closing borders, stopping travel and halting public transport would risk creating further problems in the future.

On the potential for school closures, Mr Leitch said they are “not necessarily going to happen” as he explained children having to be looked after and their apparent lower contagion are two key reasons for not shutting them at this stage.

However, Lanark Grammar School has temporarily closed for deep cleaning after a case of the virus was confirmed there.

Shetland Council said some schools will close to children next week “for operational and resilience reasons”, not for public health reasons, but will remain open for staff.

NHS Lanarkshire, meanwhile, has begun restricting visiting hours at its hospitals.

Patients will be able to receive a maximum of two visitors between 3pm and 4pm, and then 7pm-8pm.

PA