SCOTLAND’S coronavirus lockdown could lead to GDP shrinking by as much as 25%, the Fraser of Allander Institute has warned.

In a new article, the economists at Strathclyde University said construction and services – two of the biggest sectors in Scotland’s economy – faced difficult times ahead.

“The scale of this shut down and therefore the impact are completely unprecedented,” they wrote.

They added: “Now of course, many of these effects will be temporary. Once restrictions are gradually lifted, then we should see some of these sectors bouncing back. To what extent, we don’t yet know.”

If current restrictions continue for a three-month period, they said, Scottish GDP could contract by around 20-25%.

Construction’s contraction could be as much as 40-50%.

Services – which includes retail, public sector, and transport – could be down by 15-20%.

READ MORE: Scotland’s economy ‘could take years to recover from coronavirus’

Scottish Tory shadow finance secretary Donald Cameron said: “A contraction of this magnitude would be brutal for jobs, growth and prosperity.

“Everyone understands the public health need for lockdown at the moment. But this warning makes it all the more essential that the Scottish Government gets its economic support package absolutely right.”

The news of the economic impact came as the Scottish Government recorded a further 74 deaths because of coronavirus.

That takes the total death toll for Scotland up to 296.

Most of the deaths recorded yesterday actually happened over the weekend, which is why the numbers released on Sunday and Monday were so low, and the figures published yesterday were so high.

The delay in the sharing of the data was because the National Records of Scotland is only now moving to recording deaths seven days a week.

However, it’s likely there will be a substantial spike in the total death toll today.

Until now, Health Protection Scotland count only the fatalities where a person has tested positive for the virus.

Today, the National Records of Scotland will share details of patients who had not been tested for the bug, but where doctors believe it contributed to their death.

In total, 4,229 people have tested positive across the country and the number of patients being treated in hospital for Covid-19 symptoms is 1,751, increases of 268 and 152 people respectively.

Of those patients in hospital, 199 are being treated in intensive care, the same figure as reported on Monday.

In her daily briefing Nicola Sturgeon paid tribute to care workers following reports of a spate of deaths in care homes across Scotland, including eight deaths at Castle View Care Home in Dumbarton.

Sturgeon said: “The Care Inspectorate will continue to provide advice and support to that home and to others.

“The Scottish Government is working with the inspectorate to understand the broader impact of Covid-19 on the care sector so that we can support health and care workers as much as possible.”

However, unions have hit out at the recent instructions from Scotland’s chief nursing officer Fiona McQueen which says staff don’t need to wear face masks if dealing with patients showing no signs of having Covid-19.

McQueen has said her guidance – which differs from the guidance in England and Wales – was based on science.

The STUC’s Rozanne Foyer said: “Tragically, care home residents and care workers are falling ill and dying. The longer these mixed messages are in the public domain the more avoidable death and illness will increase.”

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