One year ago, doctors in China were treating more than a dozen cases of “pneumonia of unknown cause” in the city of Wuhan.

Soon, the emergence of Covid-19, as it came to be known, would dominate the lives of people around the world - as countries began to plunge their populations into strict lockdowns.

One year on, and we're back in the stay-at-home lockdown that was first introduced in Scotland at the end of March 2020.

READ MORE: Coronavirus: Signs that spread of mutant variant could be fading in Scotland

And despite the hope and optimism that mass vaccination programmes brought to many, there is "still a long way to go", Scotland's national clinical director has stressed.

Speaking at today's World Health Organization (WHO) media briefing, Director-General of the WHO confirmed that there have been almost two million deaths from the Covid-19 virus since the beginning of the pandemic - figures that Prof Jason Leitch used to remind Scots of the "long way to go", as he urged people to follow local guidance and stay safe.

And in a statement published as 2020 drew to a close and 2021 began, Dr Tedros spoke of the work still required to beat the virus.

He said: "The COVID-19 pandemic has taken so many lives and caused massive disruption to families, societies and economies all over the world.

"But it also triggered the fastest and most wide-reaching response to a global health emergency in human history.

"The hallmarks of this response have been an unparalleled mobilization of science, a search for solutions and a commitment to global solidarity.

"Acts of generosity, large and small, equipped hospitals with the tools that health workers needed to stay safe and care for their patients. Outpourings of kindness have helped society’s most vulnerable through troubled times.

"Vaccines, therapeutics and diagnostics have been developed and rolled out, at record speed, thanks to collaborations including the Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator.

"Equity is the essence of the ACT Accelerator, and its vaccine arm, COVAX, which has secured access to 2 billion doses of promising vaccine candidates.

He added: "Vaccines offer great hope to turn the tide of the pandemic.

"But to protect the world, we must ensure that all people at risk everywhere – not just in countries who can afford vaccines – are immunized.

"To do this, COVAX needs just over 4 billion US dollars urgently to buy vaccines for low- and lower-middle income countries. This is the challenge we must rise to in the new year."

Speaking today, Dr Tedros once again reiterated the need for all countries to fulfil their pledges to COVAX, calling for "collective commitment so that within the next 100 days, vaccination for health workers and those at high-risk in all countries are underway."

Meanwhile in Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon said the “overriding message” was Scotland was now in the “most perilous and serious position since the start of the pandemic”.

READ MORE: Full impact of Christmas lockdown easing 'yet to be seen' in Covid case numbers

Speaking at the Scottish Government's daily coronavirus briefing on Monday, she urged people to stay at home.

She said: “At the moment we are in a really dangerous situation.

“I hope we will see case numbers stabilise in the days to come but that will only be possible and, if we achieve it, will only be sustainable if we all stay at home.”

She said there were now more people in hospital than at any time since the pandemic started.

“That is putting our health service under strain,” the First Minister added.

“Our current case numbers mean this pressure will continue in the weeks to come.”

She urged people to “stick to the rules” and only leave home for essential purposes.

Ms Sturgeon was also clear that exercise was not “going for a day trip with other people to the beach or to a park”.

She went on: “I know that sounds harsh but it is really important that all of us right now stay at home as much as we possibly can.”

So far in Scotland, 163,377 people had received their first dose of either the Pfizer or the AstraZeneca vaccine, the First Minister confirmed. 

More than 1,100 vaccination sites - mainly GP practices and community vaccination centres - are now up and running across the country. 

Ms Sturgeon continued: "As our supplies of the vaccine increase, the number of venues will increase further, as pharmacies and mass vaccination centres also start to come on stream and be used.

"For the moment, though, the fact that GP practices and community centres are now being widely used for vaccination is an important milestone in the vaccination programme."

The First Minister also confirmed the Scottish Government's aim to have all over 80s receive their first dose of the vaccine over the next four weeks, and for all people over 70 or in the clinically extremely vulnerable group to be offered vaccination by "around the middle of February."

She said: "We are working hard to get through this vaccination programme just as quickly as possible.

"Because of course it is the main route out right now of the situation we all find ourselves in."