Addressing the nation in her daily coronavirus press conference in Edinburgh, Nicola Sturgeon said it was “unlikely” the nation could go back to normal within a few weeks. She said: “This is not a quick fix. We all want this phase of our lives to be over as quickly as possible. But as much as I would like to stand here and say otherwise, it is unlikely that this will be in just a few weeks. We are in this for the long haul.”
The First Minister urged people to “stick with” lockdown measures implemented to stop the spread of the virus.
Ms Sturgeon said: “Please everyone, I know how tough this is, but please, please stick with it. You are helping us to save lives.
“Let me again thank everyone across the country who is playing their part – your efforts will continue to be really vital in the weeks ahead as we fight this battle against coronavirus.”
Ms Sturgeon said the Scottish Government would use testing on those who are the most seriously ill to detect the spread of the virus throughout the country, including health care workers and their families, to allow them to get back to work if they do not have the virus.
The Scottish leader said that 3,400 NHS staff and their families have been tested to date.
However, she added that simply testing key workers and their families would not mean that they would be able to go back to work, as many tests would simply confirm they had the virus.
Ms Sturgeon said there had been “significant” steps taken to get personal protective equipment (PPE) to health workers.
Health Protection Scotland (HPS) would also be issuing new guidance on how PPE is distributed, she added.
Ms Sturgeon was also clear on what testing “can and cannot achieve”.
Current tests, she said, could identify cases of COVID-19, but would be unable to detect the virus in the incubation period or if someone has previously had the virus.
The Scottish and UK governments are currently working on a more thorough antibody test.
The update enraged people across the country who took to Twitter to express their disapproval of the Scottish leader’s strategy.
One user wrote: “I supported the SNP but their policy of propagating the UK herd immunity plan, abetted by Nicola Sturgeon until the u-turn, has led to a surge in Scottish deaths. Neither they or the UK Gov’ are up to the task.”
And another: “These daily updates from Nicola Sturgeon and her wee pals are totally pointless. We only want to know how many have died and not listen to the dullest 2 women on the planet telling us the same old story again and again. Just get the PPE and stop banging on about it every day.”
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Official statistics show 2,602 people have now tested positive for the virus in Scotland, up 292 on the previous day.
The First Minister said 162 people are in intensive care with COVID-19, up 15 from Wednesday’s figure.
She added a new reporting system will be put in place, meaning the daily figure of confirmed deaths will not rely solely on health boards but will also include data from the National Records of Scotland (NRS) death registration process.
As of next week, NRS will also begin to report on deaths when COVID-19 is mentioned on death certificates.
The First Minister said the Scottish Government is trying to be as “transparent as possible”.