Please find below a summary of the daily media briefing on COVID-19 from the First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.
FM Media Briefing – 23rd March 2020
In her briefing and Q&A session, the First Minister said the following:
- There are 499 positive cases of COVID-19 in Scotland, an increase of 83 cases since 22.3.20, and a further 4 deaths, taking the total to 14 [Scotland’s Chief Medical Officer Dr Catherine Calderwood stated that Scotland was “on cusp of the rapid acceleration of coronavirus cases” and that the 14 deaths may each represent up to 1,000 people that have become infected].
- Reiterated advice to people to stay in their homes “unless absolutely necessary to go out” and that these are “rules we are expecting people to comply with.” It was possible that in the coming days, more stringent measures may be applied as the FM was “not ruling anything out”.
- Confirmed that the government would publish additional guidance for businesses to make it clear what is being expected of them and how to make judgements on what is essential and what is not. With too many people going to work, businesses had a responsibility to look at what was essential and should consider closing or hibernating and accessing available support. In a message to shops that have not yet closed, if they were not providing essential services like food and medicine, they should close now.
- Touched on the recent economic measures from UK Government and said that the Scottish Government were pressing the UK Government to go further for contract workers and the self-employed.
- Outlined that from today, patients with coronavirus symptoms should dial 111 24/7 for help and advice which will free up GPs to deal with non-coronavirus patients and also announced the creation of New Community Hubs. Also confirmed that letters will be distributed to the 200,000 high risk individuals over the next few days.
- Criticised SNP MSP John Mason’s commitment to keeping his constituency office physically open, calling for all MSP offices to close: “We must be prepared to lead by example.”