Coronavirus acceleration in Scotland appears to have been ‘blunted’, says national clinical director

The increase in coronavirus cases appears to have been “blunted” in recent days, Scotland’s national clinical director has said.

But Professor Jason Leitch (pictured) cautioned delays to testing data from the weekend meant it is too early to determine an overall trend.

He added it is difficult to pick out which public health restriction has slowed the spread of the virus.

Scotland recorded 1,456 new Covid-19 cases on Tuesday, though this figure includes some results that were delayed from the weekend.

Last week, daily cases reached a high of 1,429 on Wednesday before falling back to 1,351 on the Thursday and 1,196 on the Friday.

Speaking at the Scottish Government’s daily coronavirus briefing on Tuesday, Mr Leitch said: “It would appear that 11 days into the restrictions in the central belt, the doubling time is not as it was.

“You’ll remember a few weeks ago we stood here and said the doubling time modelling suggested nine to 11 days.

“But we haven’t gone from 1,400 positive cases to 2,800 positive cases – that would have been double.

“So it would appear that we have blunted the acceleration.”

Prof Leitch said he does not know if the current phase of the virus has “peaked” because the situation has been made more complex by the weekend delays.

He added: “I think people can be reassured that the sacrifices they are presently making are worth it and they will serve us well going forward.

“But I cannot tell them that those sacrifices are over.”

Prof Leitch said the data around intensive care admissions is less encouraging, with 69 people in ICU, though he said the numbers are still within NHS capacity.

He added he and the chief medical officer will receive a new report on the genomics of Covid-19 cases this week, which will help build a picture of how the virus spreads.

Copyright (c) PA Media Ltd. 2020, All Rights Reserved. Picture (c) Health Improvement Scotland.