THE latest data on new coronavirus cases and test positivity in Scotland give us “further reason to be hopeful”, Nicola Sturgeon has said.

Speaking at the Scottish Government’s daily briefing today, the First Minister said the country has recorded its lowest test positivity for some time at 3.8%.

There were 685 new cases recorded over 24 hours with 158 in Greater Glasgow and Clyde, 120 in Lothian, 100 in Lanarkshire and the rest spread across nine other health board areas.

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Meanwhile there were 1261 people in hospital with the virus, 56 fewer than the previous day and “quite a bit below the peak of last spring”, the First Minister said. However she stressed hospitals are still under a lot of pressure.

There were 95 people in intensive care with Covid-19, a decrease of four people.

Despite the positive indications on cases and test positivity, there were a further 57 deaths confirmed over 24 hours, the First Minister added.

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That takes the total number of deaths under the Scottish Government’s measurement – where a patient dies within 28 days of testing positive for the virus – to 6885.

These figures differ from those released by the National Records of Scotland, which records all deaths where the virus is mentioned on the death certificate.

The First Minister also gave an update on the latest vaccination data during the update.

She said by 8.30am a total of 1,354,966 Scots had received their first dose of the coronavirus vaccine – an increase of 34,892 from the previous day.

Sturgeon also said we can see "very strong and compelling evidence that vaccination is starting to work to reduce the number of people dying".

More to follow