Scotland has recorded 17 deaths from coronavirus and 1,712 positive tests in the past 24 hours, Nicola Sturgeon said.
The First Minister told the Scottish Government’s coronavirus briefing the death toll under this measure – of people who first tested positive for the virus within the previous 28 days – has risen to 2,670.
Ms Sturgeon said 52,615 people have now tested positive in Scotland, up from 50,903 the previous day.
The daily test positivity rate is 9.2%, down from 9.7% on the previous day.
Of the new cases, 584 are in Greater Glasgow and Clyde, 457 in Lanarkshire, 192 in Lothian, and 151 in Ayrshire and Arran.
There are 928 people in hospital confirmed to have the virus, up by 55 in 24 hours.
Of these patients, 74 are in intensive care, a rise of one.
R-number perhaps as high as 1.5
The R number in Scotland – the average number of people each person with Covid-19 goes on to infect with the virus – is “perhaps as high” as 1.5, Nicola Sturgeon said.
The First Minister said this, coupled with the latest daily statistics, showed why temporary restrictions on the hospitality sector had been extended for another week.
Speaking about the Scottish Government’s strategic framework for tackling Covid-19, which will be published on Friday, Ms Sturgeon said this would outline a new testing strategy as well as a new regional tiered approach to tackling the virus.
Scotland already has the target of increasing testing capacity to 65,000 a day by the end of this year.
Ms Sturgeon said to achieve that at least 10,000 more Scottish tests would need to be analysed by UK Government Lighthouse labs while the NHS laboratory capacity will increased by an additional 22,000 tests a day.
Regional testing hubs
To achieve this, Nicola Sturgeon said three new regional hubs were being set up in Grampian, Lothian and Greater Glasgow and Clyde.
Ms Sturgeon said: “Contractors are already carrying out building work for these hubs, installation of equipment is progressing at pace and so is staff recruitment.
“We expect these to be up and running in the next few weeks.”
She said the new hubs would undertake all of the routine testing for care homes and that would help get results back “more quickly then we sometimes do now”.
Christmas “nowhere will be normal this year”
Louise Scott from STV asked at Nicola Sturgeon’s daily briefing if Scots should start to plan for a “digital Christmas”.
Ms Sturgeon said comments from clinical director Jason Leitch this morning were an attempt to be “pragmatic” and not give false assurance.
She said she wants people to be able to celebrate Christmas in as normal a way as possible during a global pandemic. She adds that the more everyone sticks with these really difficult restrictions, the more chance there will be for everyone to be doing that.
She continued: “The restrictions are also in part about trying to deal decisively with an upsurge in the virus now to give ourselves the best chance of greater normality at Christmas.
“Christmas this year for no country anywhere is going to be normal without any restrictions.”
Advice on Christmas shopping
Chief Nursing Officer Fiona McQueen also gave a warning about the lead-up to Christmas.
She advised early Christmas shopping to reduce crowds and ensure social distancing.
She also reminded everyone that Covid is a virus that relies on people to let it grow, adding that it is in everyone’s hands to reduce the spread and ensure a better Christmas period.
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