A FURTHER 12 coronavirus deaths have been registered in Scotland over 24 hours, the First Minister has said.

Speaking at the Scottish Government Covid-19 briefing this afternoon, Nicola Sturgeon said the total number of deaths recorded under the official measure – where a patient dies within 28 days of a positive test – now stands at 7529.

These figures differ from those published by the National Records of Scotland, which reports all deaths where the virus is mentioned on the death certificate.

According to the NRS, by Sunday there had been a total of 9831 coronavirus deaths in Scotland. Ther latest figures also show there were 104 deaths last week, 38 fewer than the previous week.

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Sturgeon said the continuing decline is very welcome and deaths have now fallen by three-quarters since the third week of January.

“All of this provides further evidence of the effectiveness of the vaccination programme,” she said. The First Minister added that we should not forget the pain and loss caused by the virus, and encouraged Scots to join the moment’s silence on lockdown’s first anniversary next week.

There were also 625 positive coronavirus cases recorded in Scotland over the last 24 hours, with 179 in Greater Glasgow and Clyde, 105 in Lothian and 97 in Lanarkshire. The remaining cases were spread across nine other health board areas.

The First Minister also gave an update on the vaccination programme, saying a total of 1,981,818 people have received their first dose of the jag – an increase of 38,311 on the previous day.

Some 10,987 people also received a second dose yesterday, taking the total to 181,879.

Meanwhile Scotland will establish a new genomic sequencing service to identify different variants of coronavirus, Sturgeon said.

As part of the new testing strategy, to be announced in Holyrood this afternoon, £13 million will be invested in a new sequencing centre over the next year, with the centre being able to sequence up to 1000 samples per day, the First Minister said.

“That’s going to be really important in the next phase of the pandemic, helping us identify new variants at as early a stage as possible so that we can try, where those variants are of concern, to make as sure as we can that they don’t get a foothold into the community and start to spread more widely.”

The First Minister said the centre would also be used in the future for any other pandemics or similar public health crises.