One year on from Scotland’s first coronavirus death

Laura Paterson, PA Scotland
·2-min read

Since the first death of coronavirus patient in Scotland was confirmed a year ago, the toll of lives lost north of the border with a link to the virus has reached more than 9,000.

On March 13, 2020, Scotland’s then chief medical officer, Dr Catherine Calderwood, said she was “saddened to report” a patient being treated for Covid-19 had died.

She said the patient, who was being treated by NHS Lothian, was an older person with pre-existing medical conditions.

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At the time, the number of people with the virus in Scotland was 85, out of 3,314 tests.

The death was announced as safety fears were prompting the cancellation of events, including the Scottish Football Association announcing all fixtures were to be postponed.

The previous day, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced large gatherings requiring emergency support or which could impact the health service would stop from Monday.

Among other events called off on the Friday were the Wales v Scotland Six Nations rugby match, the Aye Write book festival in Glasgow and Radio 1’s Big Weekend in Dundee.

Hand sanitiser
At the time fixtures were being called off (David Davies/PA)

Earlier that day, national clinical director professor Jason Leitch said more “draconian measures” such as closing borders, stopping travel and halting public transport would risk creating further problems – including a second spike – in the future.

He said school closures were “not necessarily going to happen”, but one week later they had.

Scotland, and the rest of the UK, entered lockdown 10 days after the first coronavirus death in Scotland, by which time the death toll north of the border had risen to 14, with 499 confirmed cases of the virus.