A Scottish health board has been forced to cancel all scheduled routine operations until at least the end of next week due to coronavirus pressures.

NHS Borders said it is currently facing “significant pressure” at Borders General Hospital and across the wider health system with “high demand for in-patient beds, including rising numbers of patients who are being admitted with Covid-19”.

On Wednesday evening, the health board said it was a “difficult decision”.

Patients affected by the cancellations, for the remainder of this week and next week, are being contacted directly, however all urgent, cancer and emergency surgeries will continue during this time. 

In a statement, NHS Borders said: “We fully recognise the distress caused by this unavoidable decision and are truly sorry.

“We can assure you that the situation remains under constant review. All urgent, cancer and emergency surgeries will continue during this time. 

“Our incredible staff continue to work tirelessly to treat the patients in their care across all our services and we are immensely grateful to them. Please continue to treat them with the respect they deserve.

“This week Scotland has moved beyond level zero. This change shows that we are on the right path to being able to deal with this virus differently thanks to the Covid-19 vaccination and testing programmes. 

“However it remains crucial, especially with rise in Covid-19 admissions and the continued easing of restrictions, that we all continue to be responsible and follow the rules that are in place in order to protect each other and our local health and social care services. 

“Covid-19 is still circulating, is highly transmissible and continues to pose a threat to us.

“We also know that it can affect people of any age, so please protect yourself and your loved ones by coming forward to get vaccinated.

“This also includes coming forward when it is time for your second dose to ensure that you have greater protection against Covid-19.”

On Wednesday, a further ten deaths and 1498 new cases of coronavirus were recorded in Scotland overnight.

Over the past seven days, NHS Borders has reported 169 cases.