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Further rise in Covid cases in NHS Highland area as Nicola Sturgeon responds to England's imminent national lockdown

By John Davidson

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Sunday's coronavirus figures showed an increase of 27 positive cases in the NHS Highland area.

It came as 1148 people tested positive for Covid-19 across Scotland, with the majority of cases again recorded in the central belt areas.

There were six newly reported deaths nationwide, with 1193 people in hospital including 81 in intensive care.

Fewer than five of those in hospital are in the NHS Highland region.

There were no new cases across the Western Isles, Orkney or Shetland, while neighbouring Grampian had 30 new cases.

The latest figures were published after it emerged that England was to go into a nationwide lockdown from Thursday.

The Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, announced the strict new measures at a delayed press conference on Saturday evening after news of the lockdown had been leaked ahead of a parliamentary debate next week.

Scotland's First Minister reacted by reminding people that the prevalence of the virus was lower in Scotland than in other parts of the UK but added that it "should be a reminder to people across Scotland of the need to follow the rules and not to put their own twist on them".

She said Scotland's new five-tier system, which comes into effect on Monday, gave the country the ability to respond quickly and flexibly to any changes in the data.

It was also announced that the furlough scheme would be extended throughout November, though there was uncertainty whether Scotland would be able to use the money for the extension of the scheme at a later date if the country was forced to have a national lockdown in the future.

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