Scotland is “firmly heading in the right direction” in the fight against coronavirus, Nicola Sturgeon has said.
The First Minister said the R number, the average rate at which a person with Covid-19 infects others, is estimated to remain below one.
Scotland has recorded 24 deaths from coronavirus and 500 positive tests in the past 24 hours, she confirmed, bringing the death toll under this measure – of people who first tested positive for the virus within the previous 28 days – to 7,398.
There are 726 people in hospital confirmed to have the virus, down 24 in 24 hours, and 69 patients are in intensive care, down one.
She said the daily test positivity rate is 2.5%, down from 2.6% the previous day.
Speaking ahead of First Minister’s Questions, Ms Sturgeon said: “There is little doubt at the moment that things are heading in the right direction.
“The number of cases is falling, the numbers in hospital are falling and vaccination programme is progressing extremely well.”
She said there is “much to feel optimistic about” but urged people to continue with caution and comply with stay-at-home regulations and other mitigation measures.
Giving an update on the vaccination programme, she said 1,688,808 people have received a first dose as of Wednesday morning – up by 26,729 – and 100,058 have received their second dose.
She added 95% of people aged 65-69 have had the initial inoculation, as have 37% of people aged 60-64, 31% of 55-59 year olds, and 26% of those aged 50-54.