The Scottish Government has not ruled out imposing new measures to fight against the spread of Covid-19 as we head into the winter months.

Deputy First Minister John Swinney has said that NHS services are under intense pressure" and hinted that steps may be taken to halt the spread of the virus.

While the numbers in hospital are not as great as previous peaks, daily case numbers remain high and show no sign of decreasing. 

Here are the latest trends in the pandemic which show why the Scottish Government is not letting its guard down. 

Case numbers are not dropping  

Unlike the previous waves of Covid infections, which have shown steep rises and just as precipitous falls, the number of new daily infections has stayed stable for weeks.  

From a high of 7,113 recorded on August 29, the number of new Covid cases fell to 2,693 on October 1st. But for almost six weeks now the number of daily positive cases has stayed above 2,000 except for two occasions – October 4th, when 1,760 cases were recorded, and October 12th when 1,908 were registered.  

READ MORE: Weekly deaths rise as 140 recorded in past seven days

Worryingly, the past two weeks has seen cases rising again with four days recording highs of more than 3,000, including yesterday’s total of 3,852. This is in stark contrast to last year, when the highest recorded daily peak was 1,115 on November 8th.  

Patient numbers fall slowly  

The number of people being treated in hospital is falling, but the rate is gradual. From a high of 1,076 on 22 September, Scottish Government statistics show that by yesterday 778 are now occupying beds on wards. Similarly, during the past ten weeks the number of patients in intensive care has fallen from 94 to 61.  

However, during a similar seven-week period within the last peak earlier this year, the descent was much more steep. From a high of 2,053 in hospital and 161 in intensive care on 22 January, numbers fell by around three quarters to 525 on wards and 40 in ICU by March 11.     

The lower numbers requiring hospital treatment across the two peaks shows the effectiveness of vaccines driving down the numbers falling ill. Yet this month's figures still represent a significant pressure on health services.  

Deaths remain higher than average  

The number of people dying from Covid or Covid-related reasons has risen steadily from the end of August. At the end of the summer the seven-day average of deaths hovered around seven per week. Now it is double that at 14, while more than 20 deaths have been registered on three occasions since October 21st. 

READ MORE: What winter Covid measures are being considered by the Scottish Government?

A total of 140 coronavirus deaths were recorded in Scotland in the week to November 7, the latest statistics show – an increase of five on the previous week. This is almost 20 per cent more than the five-year average.