Face masks RETURN as Sturgeon tells Scots to wear coverings just for a COLD

Nicola Sturgeon spoke at a briefing similar to those seen during the height of the pandemic.
Nicola Sturgeon spoke at a briefing similar to those seen during the height of the pandemic.

The Scottish First Minister spoke at a press briefing, similar to the daily conferences seen during the pandemic

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Nicola Sturgeon today urged Scots to wear masks on public transport as she attributed NHS chaos to “extraordinary” rates of Covid and flu.

The Scottish First Minister spoke at a press briefing, similar to the daily conferences seen during the pandemic, where she admitted hospitals are nearly full.

The SNP leader said the number of patients with coronavirus had doubled in the past four weeks while warning about an extreme winter flu season.

Sturgeon admitted some health works may feel worse than they did at stages during the Covid pandemic.

The Scottish first minister says the country is facing 'exceptional problems'.
The Scottish first minister says the country is facing 'exceptional problems'.

"Basic" precautions were promoted, including washing hands more frequently. Sturgeon also said people should stay at home where possible if they have a cough or cold.

The First Minister said at the briefing: “We are facing exceptional problems that are not unique to Scotland…

“In a relative sense NHS Scotland is dealing with these pressures in a better way.”

SNP health spokesman Humza Yousaf said yesterday that the health service in Scotland is in turmoil, as record A&E waits and delayed discharge numbers are said to be resulting in a higher death rate among patients.

It comes amid a row that Sturgeon is facing over her plans to loosen gender identity rules in Scotland, which will see a reduction in age limits and removing the need for medical diagnosis.

The First Minister is now facing significant pressure on another front as the NHS crisis intensifies.

She admitted that the health service “was under pressure before Covid struck us”.

Sturgeon told reporters: “Changing demographics and ever increasing expectations of what healthcare advances can deliver, which of course in themselves are positive developments, were posing challenges for the NHS and necessitating reforms to care pathways.

“That said, Covid, and I think we know and understand it, represented a significant shock to the system and its ongoing impact together with associated backlogs, coupled with extraordinary levels of other illnesses this winter, is creating pressure that is truly unprecedented.”

She added: “In addition to Covid, the country has been experiencing extraordinary levels of winter flu, more than 1,000 patients were admitted to hospital with flu during each of the last two weeks, and finally there has also been a rising number of cases of Strep A and other respiratory viruses resulting in a significant demand for services.

“So, the impact of this combination of Covid, flu and Strep A is clear in the statistics measuring demand for health services.”

Sturgeon said that “hospitals right now are currently almost completely full”.

She said: “Last Wednesday hospital bed occupancy across Scotland exceeded 95 percent. For context at the same stage in 2020, before the pandemic struck, occupancy was around 87 percent.”