Coronavirus: Fourth weekly fall in Scottish deaths

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The number of people dying with coronavirus in Scotland has been falling throughout May

The number of people dying with coronavirus in Scotland has fallen for a fourth consecutive week.

Figures released by National Records of Scotland (NRS) showed there had been 230 deaths in the week ending 24 May.

This was 105 fewer than the previous week, and brings the total number of deaths since the outbreak began to 3,779.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon is expected to slightly ease the country’s lockdown restrictions on Thursday.

The NRS figures showed that 46% of the 3,779 deaths so far have happened in care homes, while 47% were in hospitals and 7% were at home.

Care homes continued to account for the majority of deaths recorded last week – 54% – but the percentage has been falling in recent weeks from a high of 60% four weeks ago.

And the number of deaths in care homes halved last week, from 124 to 62.

Overall, three quarters of those who have died with coronavirus have been aged 75 or more.

Daily reported deaths from coronavirus

Coronavirus was involved in 19% of all deaths in Scotland last week, having reached a peak of 36% at the end of April.

And there were fewer deaths from respiratory diseases (-39), circulatory conditions (-31) and dementia and Alzheimer’s (-11) compared to the average for this time of year.

The first minister said the statistical trends gave “grounds for optimism” ahead of the expected easing of Scotland’s coronavirus lockdown.

She added: “What we have all done so far has made a difference. Everyone has played a part in slowing the spread of the virus, protecting the NHS and saving lives.

“As we start to emerge from lockdown that cooperation will become more important than ever.”

Ms Sturgeon unveiled a four-phase “road map” last week that is aimed at restarting society while suppressing the spread of the virus.

The first phase is expected to be introduced on Thursday, and will see people being allowed to meet outside with residents of one other household, so long as they keep two metres apart.

Some outdoor activities such as golf, fishing, tennis and bowls could also be given the green light to start again, along with outdoor work such as agriculture and forestry.

And people will also be able to sit or sunbathe in parks and other open areas, while garden centres and recycling facilities are also likely to reopen.

The easing will be accompanied by the launch of Scotland’s new contact tracing scheme, which will mean anyone who has had close contact with a person who tests positive for the virus will need to self-isolate for 14 days.

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