In the last 24 hours, 16 more people have tested positive for coronavirus in Ayrshire.

With 721 confirmed cases, Ayrshire and Arran has is the 6th most impacted health board in Scotland.

There are 101 patients with suspected or confirmed coronavirus in hospitals, an increase of 10 since yesterday, with seven being treated in ICU, down 1.

Despite daily fluctuations in hospital numbers across the country, the First Minister said there is evidence that "the actions that all of us are taking are making a positive difference."

But, she said: "This progress remains very fragile, and now is the time to exercise careful caution, it is certainly not a time to throw caution to the wind."

The Scottish Parliament will join a minute's silence at 11am tomorrow on International Workers Day to pay tribute to frontline staff

Comments on the possibility of the UK border being closed and differences in approach by governments in the UK made by Nicola Sturgeon on yesterday prompted some papers to publish article suggesting the Scotland/England border may be closed.

At today's press conference, Ms Sturgeon said: "I think you would have had to really twist and exaggerate my response to that yesterday to get to some of the headlines we see in some of the newspapers today."

The Scottish Government intends to release guidance on face coverings this week.

Ms Sturgeon made it clear this covered scarves, balaclavas and other coverings, not medical masks.

She said: "Wearing a mask covering in public, is not a substitute for following the rest of the rules and advice.

"It doesn’t mean you can ease up on the rules that are in place right now.

"It doesn’t confer enough protection or the certainty of enough protection."

Interim Chief Medical Officer Dr Gregor Smith, responding to the number of deaths in care homes, said: "Where there is a clinical need for any of our Scottish care residents to be treated in hospital that will happen."

Health secretary Jeane Freeman, MSP for Carrick, Cumnock and Doon Valley said the public must prepare for restrictions on normal life to continue for some time.

The comments come as the Scottish Government published a new document outlining how decisions will be taken to control coronavirus (COVID-19) while restoring a degree of normality to everyday life.

The paper sets out the position during ongoing period of lockdown and outlines the factors that must be considered as the government move gradually to ease restrictions.

Ms Freeman said: “It is welcome that the Scottish Government has published an outline of how and when the lockdown may be lifted and I urge everyone to take the time to read the document.

“It is vital that any decision to ease restrictions is based on the best scientific advice possible – but we are in uncharted territory and we must be prepared to adapt. That might mean having to reapply restrictions after they are lifted.

“It is only when we are sure the virus is under control that we can even start to ease any of the restrictions because the virus will not have gone away.

“There are no easy answers – but it is right for the Scottish Government to be clear about the factors that will inform decision making.

“In the coming days and weeks members of the public will be invited to contribute their thoughts and views on the next steps we must make together.

“Unfortunately, returning to what we regard as a normal life will not be possible in the near future so we need to prepare for a new normal until treatments and a vaccine offer different solutions.

“While these measures are difficult for all of us, they are saving lives and protecting our NHS.”


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