Scotland has recorded the highest number of positive cases in a single day, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced.
A total of 486 people have tested positive for coronavirus in Scotland in the past 24 hours.
During today’s daily briefing, Ms Sturgeon said two deaths of confirmed Covid-19 patients have been recorded in the past 24 hours, bringing the total number of fatalities to 2,508.
She said 25,495 people have now tested positive in Scotland, up from 25,009 the day before.
This represents 7.8% of newly-tested individuals, up from 7.6% yesterday.
However, the first minister advised that this could be because “many more people are being tested now than in the spring”.
Of the new cases, 224 are in Greater Glasgow and Clyde, 107 in Lanarkshire and 57 in Lothian.
Ms Sturgeon pointed out that is currently a significant outbreak at the University of Glasgow.
University cluster outbreaks
Addressing recent reports of coronavirus clusters at universities, she said that student life lends itself to spreading the virus.
She said that “tough guidance” was currently in place and discussions were ongoing about what may be needed.
Appealing directly to students, the first minister said: “If you are asked to self-isolate, and I know many of you are already in that position, it is really important that you follow that advice.
“From me, for now, please know that we appreciate the sacrifices you’re making at this really important stage of your lives.
“It’s not yesterday that I was at university, but I still remember what an important stage of life it is and nobody wants you to be living under these restrictions, but it is important that you take care not put yourselves at risk and obviously not to inadvertently put other people at risk.
“What we’re asking you to do now is for the collective good of everyone but we do appreciate your sacrifices and thank you for it.”
She welcomed St Andrews University’s decision to ask students to take part in a voluntary lockdown to combat the transmission of the virus.
She added: “I support fully universities and colleges in taking action they think is necessary, albeit proportionate, to deal with any outbreaks.
“We have asked universities to do that. We have put in place guidance, we talked to the sector regularly and have ongoing discussions today to see if whether we need to strengthen the guidance in any particular respects.”
Meanwhile clinical director Professor Jason Leitch urged students to take four steps to stop the spread of the virus.
Prof Leitch asked those at university to follow the Facts guidance, download the Protect Scotland app, ensure they self-isolate if asked and not host or go to house parties.
He said he spoke to Scotland’s student leaders on Tuesday to inform them of how they can support students.
Appeal to extend furlough scheme
Ms Sturgeon said Scotland should not be “hamstrung” when tackling coronavirus by the UK Government.
After reiterating her belief that, should Scotland have the borrowing powers to continue the furlough scheme, measures put in place on hospitality businesses may have been stronger, the first minister said she would be writing to the prime minister on the issue asking for an extension of the scheme or an extension of powers to the devolved administrations.
She said: “We must not be hamstrung in essential public health decisions by the lack of necessary economic mitigations.
“All four UK nations agreed on a joint statement to the effect that we would focus our efforts ‘on suppressing the virus to the lowest possible level and keeping it there’ and that is really positive.
“It puts aside forever the idea that we can just let this virus run because we know it does real damage in lives and in health.”
Ms Sturgeon added: “There is an argument that all of us across the UK should actually be doing even more right now and there is a danger that what starts to hold us back is not the public health analysis but financial limitations.”