THE number of deaths in which coronavirus was implicated rose for the first time in three months last week, according to official figures.

The National Records of Scotland said Covid-19 was recorded as a factor in eight deaths in the seven days to July 26, up from six the previous week.

The slight increase ended a run of 12 weeks in which the number of deaths had steadily fallen.

However the latest number, which includes suspected as well as confirmed cases of the infection, was still lower than the first fatal week of the pandemic, when 11 people died in Scotland. 

At its peak, in mid-April, the virus claimed 661 lives in Scotland in a single week.

At the daily briefing, Nicola Sturgeon said the increase, although small, was "regrettable and unwelcome" and a reminder that the virus should never be under-estimated.

However she said fluctuations were to be expected.

She also said there had been no deaths from laboratory-confirmed cases of Covid overnight, the 14th day in a row.

The First Minister also flagged up a possible cluster of infections in Greater Glasgow, with 14 of 22 new cases overnight within the city's health board area.

Further information is expected later today.

NRS said that in total, Covid had now been recorded on 4,201 death certificates north of the border as either a confirmed or suspected factor.

Deaths involving Covid-19 accounted for 1 per cent of all deaths registered from 20th to 26th July, a proportion which has fallen steadily since an April peak of  36% of all deaths.

Pete Whitehouse, Director of Statistical Services at NRS, said: “Today’s figures show eight more deaths due to Covid-19, a figure similar to last week and one which is significantly lower than the peak week in mid- April when 661 Covid-19 related deaths were registered.

“Monitoring the progress of this virus is important and National Records of Scotland will continue to work with Scottish Government and Health Protection Scotland (HPS) to understand its impact in Scotland.”