HUMZA Yousaf has been urged to apologise after the UK Statistics Authority found he had “inaccurately presented" child coronavirus data. 

The new Health Secretary was criticised earlier this month after claiming 10 young children had been hospitalised “because of Covid”. 

He used the figure to warn against travelling to councils where soft play areas are open, but it later turned out to be inaccurate.

The Scottish Tories reported Mr Yousaf to the statistics watchdog, which has now written to the SNP Government. 

Ed Humpherson, director general for regulation, said the figure used "was not available publicly at the time the statement was made, and it was inaccurately presented". 

The Scottish Government published the relevant Covid hospital admissions statistics following Mr Yousaf's claim. 

They showed 10 children up to the age of nine were in hospital between May 24 and 30.

However this included those who may have been hospitalised for unrelated reasons before testing positive.

In his letter, Mr Humpherson said: "We were pleased to see that the figure used by the Scottish Cabinet Secretary for Health and Social Care was published as part of an ad-hoc release which included an explanatory note to support any future interpretation. 

"It is also encouraging to hear that Public Health Scotland is now working to publish data on the age ranges of those hospitalised on a more routine basis to meet public interest in these data. 

"We would encourage as part of this work, if possible, to include if the admissions were because of Covid-19 or if the primary reason for admission to hospital was for something else. 

"We highlighted this as a data gap in a statement we published in December 2020.

"Whilst we understand that on this occasion, it was a genuine mistake, which was quickly corrected, I would like to re-iterate the importance of ensuring ministers are appropriately briefed and any figures referred to publicly must be made available."

Mr Yousaf previously said he never meant “to cause undue alarm amongst parents”.

Scottish Tory health spokeswoman Annie Wells said: “This is a humiliating slap-down for Humza Yousaf.

“Top statisticians have confirmed his child Covid claims, which left thousands of parents worried for their kids’ safety, were inaccurate.

“It’s a disgrace that the SNP Government wouldn’t just come clean and admit Humza Yousaf got this wrong. Instead, they danced around questions about his dangerous scaremongering."

She added: “For once, Humza Yousaf should drop the arrogance, show some humility and finally apologise for getting this so badly wrong.”

A Scottish Government spokesman said: “The Health Secretary has already expressed his regret for any alarm his remarks may have caused – and the Statistics Authority has acknowledged this was ‘a genuine mistake’ made shortly after the Health Secretary had taken on his new role.

"The Scottish Government responded swiftly and published the figures quoted with clear definitions and notes to help understand the data.  

“The Health Secretary was answering a question about whether a parent in Level 2 should take their child to a soft play in Level 1 and was simply highlighting the risks of people breaching Covid restrictions.

"The age group currently showing the second highest number of confirmed Covid cases is children under 14 – and we need to be extremely careful to avoid giving the impression that there is no risk to children from Covid.”