The total number of coronavirus cases in Scotland has reached 7,409 as a further eight cases have been confirmed in the north and north-east in the past 24 hours.
There are five new cases in Grampian, taking its total to 394, while the total number of cases in the Highlands has risen by three to 187.
Shetland’s case total remains at 45, Orkney remains on a total of five and the Western Isles has six cases.
It is the lowest reported daily increase of cases in the region this month.
There are 15 people in intensive care with confirmed or suspected Covid-19 in Grampian, six in the Highlands and fewer than five each in Shetland, Orkney and the Western Isles.
A total of 837 people who tested positive for coronavirus in Scotland have now died.
Update on #coronavirus testing
As of 2pm today 36,637 people in Scotland have been tested
29,228 confirmed negative
837 patients who tested positive have sadly died.
— Scottish Government (@scotgov) April 17, 2020
The rate of community transmission of coronavirus in Scotland is slowing down, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said earlier today.
The “first signs of hope are already there”, she said, as statistics indicated lockdown measures are helping to slow the spread of the virus and save lives.
The newest death toll remains lower than that announced by the National Records of Scotland of deaths where Covid-19 is mentioned on the death certificate, which stood at 962 as of April 12 – the latest figure available.
Ms Sturgeon said her advisers believe “the lockdown restrictions have resulted in a slowing down of the rate of community transmission of the virus”.
She said: “That is positive news and while we can’t be complacent and can never be complacent in dealing with this virus, that slowdown seems to be reflected in a stabilisation of the numbers being admitted to hospital and intensive care… In short, we believe that these restrictions are working.”
But restrictions will not be lifted as it could lead to an exponential resurgence of the virus and the NHS becoming overwhelmed, she said, adding: “We can’t take that risk.”
She confirmed the Scottish Government will set out measures to ease the lockdown over the next week.
Ms Sturgeon continued: “We have a long way to go but we are beginning to see signs that the lockdown is working.
“The first signs of hope are already there.”