Scotland’s youngsters are showing signs of being less susceptible to covid-19 – despite a major increase in the number of cases across the country.
Chief Medical Officer Dr Catherine Calderwood said the nation’s under-15s are the only group in the country among whom medics are not witnessing “sustained transmission” of the virus.
It comes as she warned Scots not to get complacent during the second week of strict lockdown measures across the country. People have been told not to leave their homes unless absolutely necessary.
Speaking at a daily briefing on the covid-19 pandemic at St Andrew’s House in Edinburgh, Dr Calderwood said: “Despite what we are doing, the virus is still being transmitted in our communities. The only group of people we are not seeing sustained transmission in is people under the age of 15.”
She said this chimed with other countries across the world and theories that younger people “are not either seriously affected by the virus or perhaps don’t get it at all”.
She said the number of cases is increasing “in all other age groups”.
Eearlier in March, World Health Organisation director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus called on youngsters to avoid socialising in order to avoid potentially spreading the virus to older people – warning “you are not invincible”.
Dr Calderwood asked Scots to “continue to stay at home and avoid contact with people outside your own household as much as possible”.
She added that the coronavirus is continuing to spread despite the “stringency” of the lockdown measures.
It comes after Scotland’s death toll rose to 60 – an increase of 13 in the space of a day. There are now 1993 confirmed cases of the virus across Scotland – a rise of 430 from 1563 on Monday.
Dr Calderwood said: “There have been more tests done in the past few days, and we are increasing our capacity for testing.
“But the increased number of positive cases in Scotland today is not simply because we are testing more people.
“The proportion of those tests that are positive is increasing day-by-day. This shows us that within Scotland at the moment, despite how well people are complying with the measures, despite the stringency of these measures, our number of cases every day in Scotland is continue to increase.
“The proportion of people we are seeing is increasing day-by-day even with these measures in place. Obviously we don’t know how fast it would increase without these measures.
“I want to emphasis that despite what we are doing the virus is still being transmitted in our communities.”
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon encouraged Scots to remain vigilant regarding the strict lockdown rules, asking the nation to “stick with it”.
She added: “It remains the case that the most important actions in dealing with this virus are the ones that each and every one of us can take.
“I very much hope it will not be too long before I am standing here at one of these briefings talking about the slowing down of this virus but we are not yet at that stage.
“And when we do reach that stage it will only be because people have been doing the right thing by staying at home.
“Stick with it. Thank you for doing so because by doing so, by following this advice, you are helping us to save lives.”