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Overwhelmed Scottish hospitals declare ‘code black’ status amid pressure of Covid-19 surge

Aberdeen Royal Infirmary and Dr Gray’s Hospital in Elgin, Moray have both cancelled non-urgent elective operations, NHS Grampian said on Wednesday.

The move comes after NHS Highland said Raigmore Hospital in Inverness reached capacity on Tuesday and also declared “code black” status. The designation is the country’s most severe tier of healthcare pressure.

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NHS Grampian said it took its decision in light of a rise in the number of cases in the northeast of the country.

In recent days, Scottish hospitals have been hit by an increasing number of people requiring treatment and staff shortages caused by people self-isolating after contact with someone infected with Covid-19.

Scotland recorded a further 3,799 Covid-19 cases on Wednesday.

The country is set to move to ‘level zero’ of its Covid-19 lockdown plan on July 19, when all social-distancing measures are to be removed. Almost all health curbs are set to be dropped on August 9, according to the government’s current timetable.

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said on Wednesday the government is looking at proceeding with easing lockdown with “care and caution.” She told the PA news agency that the level of infection in the country is “higher than we want them to be right now and higher than we should be comfortable with.”

Currently four of the country’s health boards are in the top 10 areas in Europe for the high rate of Covid infection over the last 14 days, according to the latest World Health Organization data.

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