On 11 March 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the outbreak of coronavirus disease COVID-19 a pandemic, reflecting the worldwide spread of this infection. The WHO produces daily situation reports, listing all affected countries and the number of confirmed cases.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has described the pandemic as “the worst public health crisis for a generation”. It now affects countries in all regions of the world. 

While the WHO has reported that most people who have COVID-19 will experience a mild illness, elderly people and those with existing health problems are at greatest risk of severe illness.

The Scottish Government approach is guided by the Chief Medical Officer, and continue to monitor the situation closely and to work with the WHO and international community.

They are working with the Welsh Government, Northern Ireland Executive, and the UK Government to respond to the ongoing outbreak.

Coronavirus symptoms and health advice

Common symptoms of coronavirus include:

·       high temperature or fever

·       cough

·       shortness of breath 

Public health advice can be found at: Coronavirus (COVID-19) on NHS Inform.

A free helpline has been set up for people who do not have symptoms but are looking for general advice: 0800 028 2816. 

Overseas visitors to Scotland, regardless of their residency status, are exempt from NHS charges for both the diagnosis and treatment of coronavirus (COVID-19). 

What is the situation in Scotland?

The first case of coronavirus (COVID-19) in Scotland was confirmed in March 2020.

On 22 March, a total of 8679 Scottish tests have concluded. Of these:

·       8263 tests were confirmed negative

·       416 tests were positive

·       10 patients who tested positive for coronavirus (COVID-19) have died

For up to date figures see here.

Information for professionals and organisations

The latest information and advice for professionals and organisations is on the Health Protection Scotland website.