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‘Pressures are likely to intensify’: Humza Yousaf says Covid situation is ‘precarious’ amid fears case numbers could rise again

Humza Yousaf gave an update on March 30.

Health Secretary Humza Yousaf called Scotland’s Covid situation “precarious” amid concerns the decline of new case numbers has ground to a halt.

At today’s briefing in the Scottish Parliament, Mr Yousaf said the NHS is currently under the most pressure it has experienced in its 73 year history.

There were 2,010 new cases reported across the country in the last 24 hours, which is the lowest number since October 4.

However, the health secretary warned the decrease is unlikely to last as we move further into winter.

Mr Yousaf said: “The decline in new cases has halted in recent weeks, and at around 2,500 new cases per day, they are still at a level well above previous loads.

“There are early signs that case number may increase again hereafter and so the situation remains precarious.”

The health secretary also said the government “will not hesitate to strengthen the protective measures in place if it proves necessary to do so.”

‘Under more pressure than at any time in its 73 year history’

There are currently 932 people in hospital with Covid across Scotland.

Mr Yousaf said hospitals are now “at or close to capacity” across the country.

He explained: “The entire health and care system is currently under considerable pressure right across the country.

“Hospitals are at or close to capacity. The social care system is also under enormous pressure and reporting an increase in the number of people requiring care packages.

Humza Yousaf encouraged people to get tested for Covid.

“The NHS remains under more pressure than at any time in its 73-year history.”

Mr Yousaf said pressure is expected to increase even further as the winter continues, especially with flu season in its peak.

He said: “NHS staff are dealing with significant numbers of Covid patients alongside other patient care, while also preparing for and responding to wider winter pressures.

“Pressures are likely to intensify during winter.”

Humza Yousaf highlighted bonfire night and ongoing COP26 protests as opportunities for Covid to spread.

More vaccinations than ever

In order to speed up the rollout of Covid booster jabs and flu vaccinations, people are being given both in the same appointment when possible.

Mr Yousaf called the current vaccination programme a “mammoth undertaking”, as first Covid vaccinations, second Covid vaccinations, Covid booster jabs and flu jabs are ongoing simultaneously.

The health secretary said the NHS administered more vaccinations two weeks ago than in any other week since the vaccination programme started last December.

Mr Yousaf said: “In the week ending October 24, almost 488,000 vaccinations were administered, that is more than we have achieved in any week since the programme began back in December last year.”

The military were recently called in to help with the administration of vaccines in a number of health boards across Scotland.

Military personnel are assisting with Covid vaccinations. Photo: PA

It was also announced that the government intends on opening an online booking system for booster vaccinations in the next couple of weeks.

The health secretary explained: “We intend to move towards a system that enables online booking.

“This portal for adults aged 50-59 and those aged over 16 who are unpaid carers and household contacts of the immunosuppressed will open from mid-November, allowing those groups to book booster appointments online.”

Mr Yousaf encouraged the public to help the vaccination rollout by attending vaccination appointments and rescheduling in and instances where they could not attend.

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