Covid Scotland: Growing number of cases could stabilize later this week, says Humza Yousaf

Humza Yousaf spoke after the NHS recorded the highest number of coronavirus patients in hospitals in Scotland since the start of the pandemic.

Data released on Tuesday showed 2,221 hospital patients recently confirmed Covid-19, a record high for the second consecutive day.

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Covid infection rates remain high at Scottish Health Boards. Photo: Michael Gillen

Mr Yousaf insisted the NHS could handle the situation, although he warned that “really difficult decisions” had to be made.

The leaders of the NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde – Scotland’s largest health council – have urged people not to visit emergency and emergency rooms unless their condition is life-threatening or requires urgent treatment.

Speaking on BBC Radio Scotland’s Good Morning Scotland on Wednesday, Mr Yousaf said: “Every board of health, including Greater Glasgow and the Clyde, has to deprioritize other treatments and sometimes quite urgent treatments, and people have to suffer as a result.”

However, he insisted that the country is in a much better position than it was two years ago when the first national lockdown was introduced, citing the impact of vaccinations and antiviral drug development on fighting the virus.

“We are in a much better position dealing with more cases than we were two years ago,” he said.

A sub-variant of the Omicron strain showed an increase in infection levels, but Mr. Yousaf indicated that the situation could stabilize in the coming days.

The health minister said: “I think we will probably need a few more days of data to tell us exactly where we are, but if the number of cases stays at the same level as yesterday, for example, [if] this picture persists for a week, I think we can say that we are seeing at least a stabilizing picture.

“After stabilization, of course, we would like to see fewer cases.

“We know there will be a backlog of hospitalizations after this, but it’s fair to say that last week definitely, and I can definitely say that at the beginning of this week, those I speak to across the country on our health councils, they say For me, these have been the most difficult weeks our health service has ever faced due to such pressure from the largest number of Covid patients.”

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