Covid cases have risen steeply around Scotland over the last week, which has caused concern among leading advisors including Professor Jason Leitch. 

Over the past 7 days, cases have more than doubled compared to the previous week, which Nicola Sturgeon confirmed on Tuesday was one of the sharpest rises of the entire pandemic.

It coincides with the axing of most major restrictions on August 9, when Scotland moved beyond level 0.

Cases in Scotland appear to be rising faster than in England, which has abandoned all Covid restrictions including the wearing of masks, a measure which remains in place in many settings in Scotland. 

At a press briefing on Tuesday, the first minister, joined by Chief Medical Officer (CMO) Gregor Smith, offered some more insight into why cases might be rising so rapidly in Scotland compared to south of the border. 

Here's what we learned...

Why are Covid cases rising so fast in Scotland compared to England?

It currently looks like cases in Scotland are rising much faster than cases in England, which has raised questions as to why. 

As of August 21 2021, cases in Scotland had risen 115.8% over 7-days while in England it had increased by only 6.8%.

Thanks to a Covid update hosted by the first minister and CMO Gregor Smith on Tuesday, we now have some answers to why this might be. 

When asked why Covid rates in Scotland appeared to be rising faster than in England, Smith said that "it appears Scotland is in a catch up phase, particularly with England."

According to the CMO, the current situation in Scotland actually somewhat mirrors the case in England following their freedom day, which took place three weeks before Scotland's move to beyond level 0. 

It means that Scotland is slightly behind our neighbours down south, and suggests hope that cases will plateau over the coming days after the initial spread following the easing of restrictions. 

Nearly half of the current cases in Scotland are in those aged under-25, according to Sturgeon. 

What else did Nicola Sturgeon say in her Covid update?

No new restrictions were introduced during Tuesday's Covid update, however the first minister did warn that she could not completely rule out bringing back measures if the current surge continued. 

She made a fresh appeal to people, particularly 16 and 17-year-olds, to get their vaccine, which can be done by attending a drop-in centre. 

Meanwhile, the first minister reminded people to stick to basic hygiene measures such as frequently washing hands and surfaces, keeping windows open and maintaining some form of social distancing where possible.