THE First Minister has dismissed media reports the coronavirus peak is a week away in Scotland. It came as the chief medical officer underlined lifting the lockdown prematurely risks causing a second – and worse – wave of the pandemic.

Nicola Sturgeon and Dr Catherine Calderwood issued the warnings during the daily press briefing on the Covid-19 outbreak when it was revealed 172 people in total have now died as a result of contracting the infection.

They also indicated the lockdown could continue into the summer holiday season which starts at the end of June.

Taking questions from journalists about the length of time current restrictions could be in place, both the First Minister and Calderwood said it was unlikely summer holidays would take place as normal this year.

Sturgeon said: “I don’t think anybody should be under any great expectation that summer holidays would be happening as normal this summer. I wish I could say otherwise but I don’t think that would be a safe assumption for anybody to make.”

Calderwood added: “We will lift measures as soon as we can safely but what we are already seeing in some countries across the world is that when measures are lifted the cases jump up almost immediately and the worry is ... that those cases would then be a larger peak than the first one.

“I would not be thinking that those summer holidays are likely to be as they were in the past.”

According to the data released yesterday on the outbreak, the death toll of 172 is an increase of 46 on the previous day, while 3001 people have now tested positive for the virus in Scotland – up from 2602 on Thursday.

There are 176 people in intensive care with the disease or expected to have it, a rise of 14.

“I want to be very clear that nothing I have seen gives me any basis whatsoever for predicting the virus will peak as early as a week’s time here in Scotland,” the First Minister said.

“I want to ask all of you today to stick with these measures no matter how difficult they are.”

The National: The lockdown could be extended to prevent a second wave of coronavirus hitting ScotlandThe lockdown could be extended to prevent a second wave of coronavirus hitting Scotland

READ MORE: Jeane Freeman: This is what we’re doing to tackle coronavirus

Calderwood said more information was needed before officials could say when the peak would be.

She added: “Now is not the time to say it will be over soon. We have always said that many months would be needed before we can get on top of this virus and be sure we are not going to have a worse scenario later with more of the virus reappearing if people are becoming less stringent in their social-distancing measures.”

On the issue of testing, the First Minister said Scottish Government’s targets on testing are proportionally equal to what is being done in the rest of UK, although the expansion to allow 3500 tests per day in Scotland is slightly higher proportionally.

UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock said on Thursday he plans to carry out 100,000 coronavirus tests a day in England by the end of April.

The Scottish Government is looking at how antibody testing – which can tell if a person has previously had the virus – can move Scotland out of lockdown, although the test does not currently exist in a “reliable form”, Sturgeon added.

A testing oversight group has been set up by the Scottish Government, she announced, which has been tasked with monitoring the provision of tests for the disease.

The group will be responsible for the increase in capacity of the labs in Scotland, along with the Scottish side of the delivery of the UK initiative to allow “non-NHS testing”.

Sturgeon also said vulnerable people who are “shielding” from the virus for 12 weeks will be able to receive deliveries of food and other essential items through a text-messaging service. She added that childcare services for key workers would remain open during what would have been the Easter holidays.

The provisions may be different than during term time, she said, but she assured key workers that children would be looked after throughout the holiday period.

The First Minister also indicated she was open to considering immunity bracelets for people who have had the virus and may be immune. However, she said more work was needed to establish whether recovering from the virus did indeed give people immunity.

Writing in The National today, Health Secretary Jeane Freeman rejected reports NHS England was leading on procurement for Scotland.

She said: “There has been some claims that NHS England is leading on procurement for Covid-19 tests for Scotland – this is simply untrue.

“The Scottish Government and NHS Scotland will continue to procure all the necessary kits and equipment to rapidly extend our testing capacity within Scotland while taking part in four country initiatives with the rest of the UK which may further add to that capacity. But these are in addition to, not instead of, building our own capacity.”

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