Covid in Scotland: Clinical director tests positive for virus

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Prof Jason Leitch warned that Scottish cases are on the rise

Scotland's national clinical director has announced that he has Covid, amid warnings of a new wave of infection.

Prof Jason Leitch shared an image of his positive lateral flow test, writing "it finally got me for the first time".

According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS) around one in 30 people in Scotland had Covid-19 in the week ending 10 June.

The latest data estimates that 176,900 people in Scotland had the virus - about 3.36% of the population.

Revealing his positive test result, Prof Leitch said: "Global and Scottish cases are rising. Be careful everyone.

"I'll be following the recommended guidance and hoping for a short, easy course. I'm very glad I'm fully vaccinated."

The ONS reports that cases in Scotland have risen from one in 40 last week to one in 30.

Professor Rowland Kao, an epidemiology expert from the University of Edinburgh, told BBC Radio's Good Morning Scotland that rising Covid numbers were linked to the emergence of a new variant that is "slightly different" from the Omicron.

This version of the virus is now the predominant one in the US.

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Prof Kao said: "We think it is probably more transmissible than the previous variant, so that is one of the big things."

He said governments were "doing very, very little" to control the virus, which was contributing to an increase in cases.

"We're essentially going about our daily businesses as usual and we are not testing," he added.

"And that not testing means we are not even able to pick up the disease, we also don't know how much is out there."

The estimated Covid rate in Scotland is higher than in England, where it is believed one in 50 people had coronavirus in the week ending 11 June.

In both Wales and Northern Ireland the estimated rate was one in 45 people.

Last week experts said a return to Covid restrictions was not currently needed as infection rates rose in Scotland.

Prof Kao said current versions of the virus were similar to the common cold, but it remained important to isolate if someone developed symptoms

"By far, removing people who are infectious from contact with others is the most important thing we can do to prevent the transmission of disease," he said.

"For most of us Covid is relatively minor, we don't have too many symptoms, but people are still getting long Covid, so even healthy people can have quite severe symptoms for a while and some people are at risk of severe illness and death.

"The key thing is, if you have symptoms you should try to isolate, even if you are not sure it is Covid.

Prof Kao's comments come after warnings on Friday that Scotland is experiencing another wave of the virus.

Edinburgh University public health expert, Prof Linda Bauld, has said the Omicron sub-lineages BA.4 and BA.5 were part of the reason for the increase in cases.

She told the BBC there had also been a "small but not significant" rise in the number of people in hospital.

An earlier version of this story reported Professor Kao saying that Scotland's Covid case numbers could be substantially higher that ONS estimates. Professor Kao says he misheard the interview question and this section has been deleted at his request.