‘Fragile’ moment in pandemic as coronavirus cases surge in Scotland
The First Minister has said she cannot rule out reimposing some restrictions if a recent surge in coronavirus cases leads to a "substantial increase in serious illness" among people in Scotland.
Nicola Sturgeon confirmed a further 4,323 cases of the virus have been reported in the country, with 364 people with COVID receiving treatment in hospital at present.
New cases have more than doubled in Scotland over the past week and the latest daily increase is the largest that has been recorded in a single day.
While the figures were always expected to rise as restrictions eased 'beyond level zero', "the scale of the increase is still a cause of real concern", the First Minister said at a briefing today.
Sturgeon said the vaccination programme is "making a big difference", citing that around 80 per cent of all over 18 year olds have now had both doses.
The vaccine is still weakening the link between high numbers of new cases and serious harm to people's health.
However, Sturgeon added: "Even with vaccination, we can't be totally relaxed about this surge in cases either.
"The link between new cases and serious health harms has weakened significantly, but it has not been completely broken.
“That means the rise in cases in the last week may well result in more people having to go to hospital in the coming days, perhaps requiring intensive care treatment and unfortunately a rise in cases like this will still lead, I consider likely to be the case, in an increase in numbers of people dying.
“And that also means that if the surge continues and if it accelerates and if we start to see evidence of a substantial increase in serious illness as a result, we cannot completely rule out having to reimpose some restrictions.
“Of course, we hope not to have to do that and if we did, we would be as limited, and as proportionate as possible.
“However, as has been the case throughout so far and up until this point, what happens in the next few weeks will depend to some extent, to a large extent, on all of us.
“This is yet another fragile and potentially very pivotal moment in our journey through this pandemic and it is a moment to remember that even though most restrictions have now been lifted the virus is still circulating and we know that the Delta variant is highly transmissible.
“So we need to continue to take care and we need to think about how, in our own behaviours, we can limit the ability of the virus to spread.”