The Press and Journal (Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire)

Lockdown to last 13 weeks

● Stark warning from chief medical officer as death toll in Scotland hits 41 ● Health secretary quizzed over the supply of ventilator­s for critically ill

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Scotland’s chief medical officer has said she believes a 13-week lockdown is required to stop the spread of coronaviru­s. Dr Catherine Calderwood warned that if the restrictio­ns on movements were lifted before then, it is likely the virus will continue to be transmitte­d between people.

She pointed to other countries which had imposed shorter periods of restrictio­n and had since seen the virus resurface again.

Dr Calderwood issued the warning as the Scottish Government revealed a total of 41 people in the country have now died of coronaviru­s.

In total,1,384 people in Scotland have received a positive result out of the 13,889 tests carried out.

Speaking at St Andrew’s House in Edinburgh yesterday, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon also revealed that 95 people are now in intensive care units with suspected or confirmed coronaviru­s and that number is “growing quite rapidly”.

Dr Calderwood earlier praised people for following the advice and staying at home unless necessary and said if people continue to comply with the restrictio­ns, the forecasted 260,000 excess deaths in the UK will not come to fruition.

She told BBC Four: “The modelling that has been done and that I have seen has always said that we need at least 13 weeks of some sort of measures in order to really get this virus away from spreading amongst people.

“When you have a shorter period of time, as I understand other countries have done, as soon as you lift the measures, the virus comes back again.”

She added that based on the measures already in place and the level of compliance, officials are “very hopeful” the predicted 260,000 excess deaths will not become a reality.

Her comments came after the UK Government’s leading epidemiolo­gy adviser Professor Neil Ferguson said the entire population should be told to stay at home until June.

He told The Sunday Times: “We’re going to have to keep these measures (the full lockdown) in place, in my view, for a significan­t period of time — probably until the end of May, maybe even early June. May is optimistic.”

He said that when the lockdown was finally lifted, people would still be asked to enforce some forms of social distancing for months.

Meanwhile, Ms Sturgeon yesterday announced a new volunteer programme, Somebody Cares, for those who wish to help.

The programme will be coordinate­d by the Red Cross. The programme will allow people to register their interest on ReadyScotl­and.org

Addressing concerns over a lack of personal protective equipment (PPE) for healthcare workers, Ms Sturgeon said 34 million items have been delivered to hospitals over the last four to six weeks and that health boards now have a “single point of contact for managing PPE distributi­on”.

Eight weeks’ worth of PPE will be delivered to GP surgeries this week, she added.

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