Nicola Sturgeon has warned that Covid-19 deaths and hospital admissions could start rising again shortly in Scotland after the large number of cases in four months.
Scottish Government figures disclosed 208 new cases were recorded in the previous 24 hours, the highest daily total since May 8.
The total included 92 more cases in the NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde health board area, where Ms Sturgeon has banned people from visiting other households following a spike in cases linked to outdoor gatherings.
The proportion of Covid-19 tests that returned a positive result also increased to 2.3 per cent, up from 1.5 per cent the previous day and the highest rate since June 4. However, no new deaths were reported.
1/ Today’s numbers show a continued increase, including in % positive. While this reflects the substantial opening up of the economy, it reminds us of the need to deploy strong counter measures. We have two main tools at our disposal... https://t.co/J2EQUo2LJW— Nicola Sturgeon (@NicolaSturgeon) September 6, 2020
In a series of messages posted on social media, Ms Sturgeon blamed the "continued increase" in cases on the "substantial opening up of the economy".
She said that it was "good news" that so far the rise has not been "matched" by an increase in hospital or intensive care admissions, or deaths.
But she warned there could be a "time lag", noting that other countries including France "that have had cases rising for longer are seeing these indicators rise now too."
The First Minister also noted that the number of cases across the UK had surged from 1,813 on Saturday to 2,988 yesterday.
In June Ms Sturgeon said Scotland was "not far away" from eliminating the virus and the following month she claimed it was five times less prevalent in Scotland than England, a boast that prompted an official reprimand from the statistics watchdog for being unsubstantiated.
But she warned last week the virus is spreading again and the R number in Scotland - the average number of people each carrier infects - was now above one and potentially as high as 1.4. Across the UK, the R number is estimated to be between 0.9 and 1.1.
4/ So far the rise in cases is not matched by a rise in hospital/ICU admissions/deaths. That’s good news but we musn’t be complacent about it. It could be a time lag - some countries, eg France, that have had cases rising for longer are seeing these indicators rise now too— Nicola Sturgeon (@NicolaSturgeon) September 6, 2020
The First Minister imposed a ban on indoor gatherings involving more than one household on more than 800,000 people in Glasgow, East Renfrewshire and West Dunbartonshire. She blamed small family gatherings for a surge in cases.
NHS Lanarkshire, which serves a population of around 655,000 people, warned on Friday that its region was "very close" to having similar measures imposed. A further 30 cases in the area were reported on Sunday.
Ms Sturgeon yesterday tweeted that the rise in cases "reminds us of the need to deploy strong counter measures", including the Test and Protect contact tracing system, and noted that the new Protect Scotland proximity app will be launched within the "next few days."
Although she admitted that it was the largest daily total since May, she said that earlier in the year "we were testing far fewer people and mainly those in hospital, so reported case numbers then were likely to have been a much bigger underestimate of true prevalence."