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US News Coronavirus in Scotland: 50,000 may be infected as public told to prepare for weekend 'unlike any other'

17:30  26 march  2020
17:30  26 march  2020 Source:   msn.com

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Nicola Sturgeon sitting in front of a laptop © Provided by The i

Up to 50,000 people in Scotland may already have coronavirus, with many having no idea they are infected and are potentially deadly to those around them, the Chief Medical Officer has warned.

a group of people walking down a sidewalk in front of a store © Provided by The i

Dr Catherine Calderwood said the public should expect this weekend to be “unlike any other” and urged people to follow official advice while the nation is on lockdown.

Her warning came as the latest official figures showed that 894 people in Scotland now definitely have coronavirus, a jump of 175 from the previous day's total of 719, with 25 deaths.

But Dr Calderwood said the number of confirmed cases was likely to be a “very significant underestimate” and that the reality would be very different.

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"We're probably looking at the order of perhaps 40,000 to 50,000 people in Scotland who are now infected with coronavirus,” she said.

"Many of them don't yet know that they are infected nor indeed do they realise they are potentially going to infect those around them."

She added that while it had been very encouraging to see empty streets, shops and public transport as people observed the rules, the fight against the disease was "going to be a long haul".

“I'd just encourage people, as the weekend comes – a weekend perhaps unlike any other you've ever experienced – to not relax those rules, to not be tempted to see other families from other households.”

Coronavirus in Scotland: 50,000 may be infected as public told to prepare for weekend 'unlike any other'

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People in Scotland have been staying away from public transport during the coronavirus lockdown (Photo: Getty)

In other developments, it was announced that 1.5m face masks are being distributed to staff across the Scottish NHS despite their expiry dates having passed.

Health Secretary Jeane Freeman said the masks had been stockpiled after going out of date last summer, but had since been deemed safe to use after “extensive testing”.

Advice for couples

Dr Calderwood also confirmed that “detailed discussions” had taken place about setting up a field hospital in Scotland to cope with a sudden surge in the number of coronavirus patients.

She said several sites were “being considered” across the country, mirroring plans by the NHS in London to use the ExCeL Centre to treat up to 4,000 people at the height of the pandemic.

During her press conference with Nicola Sturgeon and Ms Freeman, the Chief Medical Officer also said couples at home together should think twice about getting pregnant.

“It has been suggested to me that we talk to people about contraception...so perhaps to think 'Would this be the right time to have an unplanned pregnancy?'" she said.

“People are making difficult choices. We would always encourage people to think, on their own health side, 'Is this the right time for me, is this a good time for me to start thinking about having a baby?'”

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