Health Secretary Humza Yousaf has said Scotland is past the “worst of the peak” following a huge number of recorded coronavirus cases in the last month.
Dundee and the Mid-Lothian areas still remain two of the ten most infected places in the UK, but despite this Mr Yousaf said he was optimistic Scotland was beyond “the worst” but warned the situation was “still fragile”.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon will address a reconvened Scottish Parliament on Tuesday ahead of a so-called “freedom day” for the UK on July 19, when restrictions south of the border are set to be lifted.
She will tell MSPs whether Scotland will move to Level Zero, and whether it is likely we will move further in August in line with the rest of the UK.
Cases in Scotland reached a high of 4,234 on July 1 following a sharp rise over the previous month.
NHS Tayside has opened drop-in clinics for those aged 18 and over who require their first vaccination, and warned those expecting a second jag not to turn-up for one unless eight weeks had passed from their initial inoculation.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson will address the UK on Monday evening to announce what restrictions will be lifted, but the decision on Scotland’s path out of lockdown remains with Ms Sturgeon and Holyrood.
The Welsh assembly has said masks would remain compulsory inside shops and on public transport, and it is thought Greater Manchester and London mayors Andy Burnham and Sadiq Khan would make wearing masks on the Tube and Metro Trams mandatory also.
Vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi said new guidance issued on Monday would still say people were expected to wear masks in indoor enclosed spaces, although the legal requirement to do so would be dropped.
Speaking on BBC Radio Scotland’ Sunday Show, Mr Yousaf said: “From the data I have seen over the last week – optimistically, I think we can say we are past the worst of the peak, this particular peak.
“Now that doesn’t mean there wouldn’t be another peak in the future but we’re beginning to see a stabilisation and beginning to see the cases level off.
“Still very high I must say, but we’re beginning to see a positive trend.”
The Health Secretary said the government would take a “cautious not cavalier” approach to the new rules, which will begin on July 19.
Mr Yousaf was asked about comments from his UK Government counterpart Sajid Javid, who said cases could reach 100,000 per day by mid-August.
He said: “We certainly wouldn’t want to tolerate that level of cases.”
Asked several times what percentage of those 100,000 cases would likely be recorded in Scotland, Mr Yousaf would not say, but that the government was not looking at the August milestone, only July 19 at this time.
Scotland has recorded 2,048 new coronavirus cases in the past 24 hours, the latest figures show.
No new deaths were recorded, although registry offices are generally closed at weekends.
The Scottish Government’s figures for Sunday also showed the daily test positivity rate was at 11.2%.
A total of 444 people were in hospital with recently confirmed Covid-19, with 40 patients in intensive care.
So far, 3,928,409 people in Scotland have received the first dose of a Covid-19 vaccine and 2,877,326 have received their second dose.
Funding for remobilisation
NHS will receive an extra £12 million to help reduce waiting times for non-Covid emergency care, it was announced on Sunday.
A rise in A&E attendances which are not coronavirus-related is putting hospitals under additional pressure during the pandemic.
Health Secretary Humza Yousaf said urgent treatment, including vital cancer care, would continue.
The government is also urging people to help the NHS by considering options closer to home when they need medical attention such as calling the 111 service.
A number of hospitals have announced they have reached capacity and postponed non-urgent surgery.