During todays Covid-19 Press briefing live from Edinburgh the first Minister confirmed that letters for the over-45 group, will start to be sent out in the next few days, when she was questioned by a journalist
In her speech at todays briefing the FM stated “The total number of positive cases that were reported yesterday was 221.
That’s 1.6% of the total number of tests, and takes the overall number of confirmed cases in Scotland to 222,382.
133 people are currently in hospital – that is 21 less than yesterday.
20 people are in intensive care, which is a reduction of 1 from yesterday.
Unfortunately 3 further deaths were reported yesterday, and that takes the total number of deaths registered, under that daily definition, to 7,633.
And once again, I want to send my condolences to all those who have lost a loved one.
Let me also give a quick update on the latest vaccination figures.
As of 7.30 this morning, 2,682,706 people have received their first dose of the vaccine.
That is an increase of 13,983 since yesterday.
In addition to that, 14,952 people received their second dose yesterday, that brings the total number of second doses to 605,126.
So now virtually all over 60 year olds have now received a first dose of the vaccine.
96% of 55 to 59 year olds;
and 84% of 50 to 54 year olds.
Overall, we have now given a first dose to almost 60% of the whole adult population.
And we have effectively met our target of offering a first dose by the middle of this month to everyone over 50 year olds; all unpaid carers; and all adults with particular underlying health conditions.
Significantly, these groups account for 99% of all Covid related deaths, so that is quite a significant milestone.
We have also made significant progress in reducing the number of new Covid cases that we are seeing now reported in Scotland.
That is partly due to the success of the vaccination programme.
But it is also, and we shouldn’t loose sight of this, because so many people have stuck so well to the all of the really difficult rules over past month.
To put the reduction we are now seeing into some context, in early January we were recording more than 2,000 new cases, on average, every day in Scotland.
We are now recording fewer than 300 a day.
The figures we are seeing now represent the lowest level since late September last year.
In fact, it is a decline of more than 85% since early January.
And a fall of well over 40% just in the last two weeks.
We’ve also seen the number of people in hospital and intensive care continue to reduce and thankfully the number of deaths has fallen sharply as well.
So all of that is really good progress, but that said – and you would expect me to say this – we do still need to be cautious. We can see why we still need to be cautions by looking quickly around many other countries across Europe and the world.
Here in Scotland for the last few weeks – and this was a concern for a period – we’ve had rates of infection that were a bit higher than in some other parts of the UK – though as I have just said, we are now starting to see case numbers falling more markedly and more consistently.
That is one reason to be cautious, but we have also seen over the past week or so some easing of restrictions, so last week we saw the re-opening of hairdressers and some retail outlets.
And, of course, over this week and next week, there will be a much more significant change as all secondary schools return full time.
So we have to be careful – and that has always been the way with this virus – not to do too much all at once. We don’t want the virus quickly gaining ground again, particularly as we know this new variant is more infectious, and then setting us all back.
All of that said, because the data in the last two weeks in particular has been so encouraging, we can now give a bit more certainty to individuals and businesses about the way ahead – and indeed accelerate one aspect of the exit from lockdown which I think is important for our personal wellbeing.”