NICOLA STURGEON said that Wednesday was the first weekday since March 27 where the number of deaths was in single figures, as she updated the nation on coronavirus from Edinburgh.
Speaking at the daily press conference on coronavirus, Nicola Sturgeon said the country’s daily death toll dropped to single figures for the first time since the beginning of the lockdown in March. However, she added that nine deaths were still too many, with each one representing a person and a family left “shattered and grieving”.
The First Minister also addressed the loss of jobs at the Rolls Royce plant in Inchinnan, where 700 redundancies were announced on Wednesday.
She said: “That announcement will have been devastating news for the workforce and their families at what is already anxious time.
“Unfortunately, it may not be the last of its kind in the period ahead.
“I want to stress that the Scottish Government will do everything we can to secure as good an outcome for those whose jobs are at risk.”
The First Minister said the Scottish Government was looking to help companies diversify into producing personal protective equipment (PPE).
She told the briefing that in contrast to the 57,000 facemasks needed by the health sector weekly before Covid-19, 4.5 million are now needed.
To meet demand, Ms Sturgeon said there had been imports brought in from overseas, but also looked inwards for firms across Scotland to produce the equipment.
The First Minister said she hoped companies in Scotland would be able to grow the capacity for the creation of PPE to the point where it not only supplies the NHS north of the border, but can also export items to other countries.
Health Secretary Jeane Freeman said the framework for the recovery of cancer surgery would be published on Thursday.
The framework had two aims, the Health Secretary said, with the prioritisation of patients being the same across the country and that patients are offered “the earliest possible appointment” for their surgery.
She added: “That appointment may be outside their local board area, but that’s to be able to allow us to ensure that prioritisation is the same across the country, no matter where patients live, and that they’re given the earliest possible opportunity.”
Ms Freeman said there may need to be regional or national working between health boards, and she would be writing to board chief executives to make that clear.
The Scottish Government has also established two groups on cancer, the national cancer recovery group – which will provide “strategic national oversight” of cancer services – and the national cancer treatments group, which will be tasked with ensuring the surgical prioritisation of services.
A total of 2,395 patients have died in Scotland after testing positive for coronavirus, up by nine from 2,386 on Wednesday, Nicola Sturgeon said.
The First Minister said 15,553 people have tested positive for the virus in Scotland, up by 49 from 15,504 previous day.
There are 1,021 patients in hospital with confirmed or suspected Covid-19, a fall of 96 in 24 hours.
Of these patients, 28 were in intensive care, down by six.