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Scotland preparing for significant outbreak of coronavirus, says Sturgeon

The First Minister was speaking after the first case of Covid-19 was confirmed north of the border.

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Scotland is ‘planning for the likelihood of a significant outbreak of coronavirus’ (Ben Birchall/PA)

Scotland is ‘planning for the likelihood of a significant outbreak of coronavirus’ (Ben Birchall/PA)

Scotland is ‘planning for the likelihood of a significant outbreak of coronavirus’ (Ben Birchall/PA)

Nicola Sturgeon has said the Scottish Government is expecting a “significant outbreak of coronavirus” after the first case was diagnosed in the country on Sunday night.

Giving a statement alongside Scotland’s Chief Medical Officer Dr Catherine Calderwood and the Health Secretary Jeane Freeman, the First Minister said further cases are expected in the days to come.

She said the Government is “planning for the likelihood of a significant outbreak of coronavirus”.

The patient who was diagnosed with the Covid-19 virus is “not seriously ill at this stage”, Ms Sturgeon revealed.

The Tayside resident, who had recently travelled from the north of Italy, has been taken to hospital as a precautionary measure and is currently receiving treatment in isolation.

“That is not necessarily  going to be the case going forward for future cases”, Ms Sturgeon said, explaining people will be told to self-isolate “unless there is a clinical need for them to be in hospital”.

“Contact tracing is under way”, she added.

Her briefing came after the First Minister took part in the UK Government’s Cobra meeting.

The First Minister said “we are in the containment phase” but the situation is under “ongoing review”.

She added the Scotland v France Six Nations game is still scheduled to take place in Edinburgh this weekend and there has been no change to plans for the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow later in the year.

Cobra “signed off of a four-nation action plan” to guide the countries’ response to the virus and will be published on Tuesday, Ms Sturgeon announced.

Asked about whether big events such as the climate summit were at risk of being called off, Ms Sturgeon said: “We are not at that stage yet – decisions will be guided very firmly by the scientific advice that all four Governments are receiving.”

She added: “The public should be reassured that there are well-established procedures and protocols in place.”

Dr Catherine Calderwood, Scotland's Chief Medical Officer
Dr Catherine Calderwood urged public vigilance to tackle the outbreak (Scottish Government/PA)

Earlier, Dr Calderwood told the BBC’s Good Morning Scotland programme the first person to test positive in Scotland is “clinically well”, adding they were “transferred to hospital last night as a precautionary measure only”.

She added: “The public can really help us and we’re going to keep saying these messages – wash your hands, don’t touch your face, sneeze or cough into a tissue and bin it immediately, and that can still help to contain this so we reduce the number of people it’s transmitted to.

“We would expect at least 80% of people to have very mild illness that they will recover quickly from and a very small number of people that need hospitalisation.”

She added: “At the moment, this is just precautionary so there’s no issue at all with our NHS services or capacity.

“If this does spread throughout Scotland, it will become business as usual. It will become as we have with people with the flu that yes, some people are very ill, some people are less ill, we accept that and people get on with their normal business.”

PA