Coronavirus could continue to put “huge pressure” on the NHS, Nicola Sturgeon has warned after Scotland recorded the highest ever daily total of new cases and the most deaths since April.
Wednesday’s figures show 2,969 new cases were recorded in the past 24 hours – higher than the 2,649 cases in one day at the height of the winter peak.
The test positivity rate is 7.3%, with a record 42,310 tests taking place.
This is down from 9.1% the previous day but still above the 5% World Health Organisation figure that suggests a pandemic is under control.
Five deaths were also recorded in the last 24 hours, the highest daily total since April.
Writing on Twitter, Scotland’s First Minister said if Covid-19 restrictions are to end on August 9 as planned, “we should take this increase seriously”.
She stressed that vaccines are breaking the link between illness and death and “around 5% of cases are admitted to hospital now”.
But she cautioned that “5% of a large number of cases will still put huge pressure on NHS and cause suffering and loss”.
She added: “We are much more confident about the medium term (ie from 9 Aug), due to vaccines, but what we do in short term will determine how safely we get there.
“So – even tho we’re all fed up & frustrated if we see others breaking rules – its still important to take this seriously.”
A total of 171 people were in hospital on Tuesday with recently confirmed Covid-19 – down one in 24 hours – and 18 people were in intensive care, no change.
Separate figures also released on Wednesday by National Records of Scotland show weekly Covid deaths in Scotland have hit the highest number in almost two months.
A total of 13 fatalities were recorded in the week of June 14-20.
This is up six on the previous week and is the first time the total has hit double figures since the seven days from April 26, when there were 19 deaths.
The coronavirus death toll since the start of the pandemic now stands at 10,150.
Of the deaths in the most recent week, three were people aged under 65, two were 65-74, and eight were over 75.
Four of the deaths occurred in Glasgow, two in Perth and Kinross and one each in Dundee, Falkirk, Highland, Midlothian, South Ayrshire, West Dunbartonshire and West Lothian.
Ten of the deaths took place in hospitals, one was in a care home and two were at home or in a non-institutional setting.
By comparison, the number of deaths from all causes registered in Scotland in the same week was 1,046 – 46, or 5%, more than the five-year average.
There were nine more deaths from circulatory causes, three more deaths from cancer and 56 more fatalities from other causes compared to the five-year average.
Deaths from respiratory diseases (-25) and dementia/Alzheimer’s (-7) were below average.
The NRS Covid statistics are published weekly and cover all deaths registered in Scotland where coronavirus was mentioned on the death certificate.
They differ from the lab-confirmed coronavirus deaths announced daily by the Scottish Government because the NRS figures include suspected or probable cases of Covid-19.
Under this daily figure, the death toll stands at 7,701, with a total of 260,711 positive tests since the start of the pandemic.