'Scope for cautious optimism' as rate of COVID surge slows in Scotland
The rate of increase in Covid-19 cases in Scotland may now be slowing down, the First Minister has said.
Nicola Sturgeon said there was "scope for some very cautious optimism" as she broke down the figures in a Scottish Parliament update this afternoon.
While there had been an increase of more than 70 per cent in the average daily cases between the week to 22 August and the following week, the figures for the week to 5 September showed a rise of nine per cent.
Over the past week, 75 per cent of all cases have been among those under the age of 45. It was an examination of the figures relating to this demographic that provided room for "cautious optimism", Sturgeon said.
She added: "In the most recent week, the number of cases in the zero to 14-year-old age band has risen by 44 per cent.
"Now while that is a significant increase, it does represent a significant slowing in the rate of increase from the previous week when cases in that age group increased by more than 150 per cent.
"Cases in the 25 to 44-year-old age bands have also continued to rise but again the rate of increase has slowed quite considerably.
"It was six per cent in the most recent week, compared to almost 70 per cent in the week before.
"And amongst 15 to 24 year olds cases have actually fallen in the most recent week, by 18 per cent from just under 11,000 to just under 9,000, and that fall of around 18 per cent compares to an increase in that age group of 29 per cent in the previous week.
"So, we can take from all of that, that it appears that the rate of increase has slowed, and that may well suggest that the appeal to individuals and businesses over the past two weeks, to improve compliance with basic mitigations and for all of us to be more cautious in our everyday behaviours, is having some impact.
"The ongoing work of test and protect is also vital and hugely appreciated."
On Friday, the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) concluded the health benefit of vaccinations for 12 to 15 year olds marginally outweighs any risks.
However, because it considered children at relatively lower risk of serious health harm from coronavirus, it did not recommend that vaccination was offered to all within the age group.
The UK's chief medical officers will now undertake a "rapid assessment" of the latest evidence on this matter and provide advice to the governments.
"The Scottish Government stands ready to act in accordance with any recommendations that we receive," Sturgeon said.