Coronavirus: Scotland facing 'serious situation'

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"We have established plans" says First Minister Nicola Sturgeon

The Scottish government has set out its strategy to cope with coronavirus as part of a "four nations" action plan.

The first minister said "well-established" plans were being activated to tackle a "serious situation".

"I know people are hearing scary figures and it is important to stress that they are worst case scenarios," Nicola Sturgeon said.

The UK government has warned that up to a fifth of the UK workforce could be off sick at the same time.

Scotland has only one confirmed case of coronavirus so far. The patient, from the Tayside area, is "clinically well", but is in isolation in hospital as a precaution.

The number of cases across the UK currently stands at 51, rising from 39 on Monday.

A total of 914 tests have now been confirmed negative in Scotland.

What do I need to know about the coronavirus?

The UK's coronavirus action plan outlines measures that could be taken if the virus spreads.

They include the police only responding to the most serious crimes and maintaining public order, and the military providing support to the emergency services.

Other possible measures include school closures, reducing social gatherings and working from home.

The Scottish government has activated its "resilience room" to co-ordinate the Scottish response to the virus.

Ms Sturgeon said: "We're not powerless in the face of this. So much of what we are doing and will continue to do is trying to mitigate and manage this so the impact on human health, the impact on our health service, on the economy and wider society is minimised as much as possible."

The first minister said NHS Scotland was working with "well thought out" plans to cope with an upsurge in demand as a result of an outbreak that affected large numbers of people.

"It is an escalation plan that has different stages," she said.

"What it may mean at a later stage is that some non-urgent activity in the NHS would be postponed in order to prioritise capacity for people who needed hospital treatment."

Media caption,

Do face masks work? And other coronavirus questions answered

Currently, sporting events are still going ahead in the UK, although the Scottish FA and the SPFL have written to clubs telling players and officials not to shake hands before or after games.

The new guidance takes effect from Tuesday evening's match between Hibernian and Heart of Midlothian.

"Drive-through" testing areas for coronavirus have been set up outside some Scottish hospitals, including the Western General in Edinburgh and Raigmore in Inverness.

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The "drive-through" tent has been set up at Raigmore Hospital for people with mild symptons

At Raigmore Hospital, a tent has been put in place so people who suspect they have mild symptoms of the virus can drive themselves to the "contained area" for testing.

NHS Highland said patients unable to use the "drive-through" facility would be tested at another designated testing facility at Raigmore Hospital.

The head of NHS 24, Dr Anna Lamont, told BBC Radio's Good Morning Scotland programme that people with symptoms of the virus should phone their GP during working hours, or 111 out-of-hours.

"Our primary aim is to establish whether they have come from an area that is at risk - that list is published online," she said. "And also to establish whether they have been in close contact with someone who does have coronavirus.

"If they meet that criteria, and if they have a cough, fever or are short of breath, then we would forward that inquiry through to a clinician either in the out-of-hours service when the GP's closed or through to the GP during the daytime."

A second helpline has been set up for people looking for general information about the virus - 0800 028 2816.

However, Dr Lamont encouraged people looking for further information to use the NHS Inform website.