Coronavirus: 1 in 25 of infected could be hospitalised in Scotland

Coronavirus information posters at Ninewells Hospital in Tayside (Photo by Jane Barlow/PA Images via Getty Images)

A "significant outbreak" of the coronavirus is likely in Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon has said.

The country’s first minister warned that while there is currently just one confirmed case in Scotland, future cases were likely in the "days to come".

She said: "It is... important to be very clear that we would expect to see further cases confirmed in the days to come, and it's also important to be clear that we are planning for the likelihood of a significant outbreak of coronavirus in the weeks to come."

She said that as more patients were confirmed they would not be admitted to hospital unless there was a "clinical need".

Nicola Sturgeon, Chief Medical Officer Dr Catherine Calderwood and Health Secretary Jeane Freeman, held a coronavirus briefing in Edinburgh on Monday (J Mitchell/Getty Images)

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Scotland’s chief medical officer said that one in 25 people could require hospitalisation during an outbreak, adding that while there is good evidence that Scotland has been successful in containing the virus so far, she would expect the peak of cases, where "large numbers" occur, in two to three months’ time.

"We're expecting perhaps 50% or as much as 80% of the population would be infected during that epidemic," Catherine Calderwood told journalists at the Scottish government's St Andrews House headquarters in Edinburgh.

Dr Calderwood added that the vast majority of people infect will display very "mild symptoms", similar to a cold, and they will fully recover in a week to 10 days. However, 20% of people affected will suffer more severe symptoms, while 4% are looking at hospital treatment.

Scotland's Chief Medical Officer Dr Catherine Calderwood (left), has warned that one in 25 people could be hospitalised at the peak of a coronavirus outbreak in the country. (Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

Sturgeon said the figures cover the worse-case scenario and that it was important to provide "full and frank" information.

"The public want to know that we are preparing for what we think is the reasonable worse-case scenario," she said.

"Much of what we do will be aimed at reducing that impact."

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She said "escalation plans" for the NHS are now being examined to see how extra capacity can be provided to cope with those who have the most severe symptoms.

A patient from the Tayside area of Scotland was diagnosed on Sunday after recently travelling to Italy.

They are said to be "clinically well" and are being treated in hospital as a precaution.

A spokesperson for the Scottish government said: “The 4 percent figure refers to the potential percentage of infected people who may require to be hospitalised, as opposed to a percentage of the population as a whole.

“The estimates are based on modelling work which is under continuous review as more data is received from around the world. At this stage, it is not clear whether the outbreak in Scotland will have the same impact as in other countries so this is the best estimate for NHS planning purposes.”

The patient is currently in isolation and details of people they have been in close contact with since returning to the UK are being gathered.

Sturgeon said the patient had followed the correct protocols by reporting their concerns over the phone and self-isolating before they were admitted to hospital.

Tourists wear face masks as they visit Edinburgh Castle amidst coronavirus fears (Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

The Edinburgh briefing came after the UK Government's Cobra meeting on Monday morning, of which Ms Sturgeon was part.

She said "we are in the containment phase" but the situation is under "ongoing review".

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She added the Scotland v France Six Nations game is still scheduled to take place in Edinburgh this weekend and there has been no change to plans for the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow in November.

Asked about whether big events such as the COP26 summit were at risk of being called off, Sturgeon said: "We are not at that stage yet – decisions will be guided very firmly by the scientific advice that all four governments are receiving."

She added: "The public should be reassured that there are well-established procedures and protocols in place."