The number of people being treated for a Covid-related illness in Ayrshire hospitals continues to rise, with Public Health Scotland data showing that yesterday there were 218 patients currently being seen to.

The compares to 213 on the same day the previous week and is the highest total since February 2, 202.

ICU totals remain unchanged, with less than five people currently in intensive care in Ayrshire as a result of Covid-19.

Whilst the number of hospital admissions continues to rise, the total positive tests being returned in Ayrshire continues to decline, with there being 1,047 positive tests returned in North Ayrshire between April 2-8, which is down from 1,651 for the previous seven-day period.

North Ayrshire is currently the thirteenth worst-affected council area, with a seven-day rate per 100,000 of population of 779.9. East Ayrshire is the third worst-affected with 894.7, and South Ayrshire is fourth with 881.

And on vaccinations, 92.6 per cent of those aged 12 and over in North Ayrshire have received at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine, 87.8 per cent have received two, 74.2 per cent have received three, and 23.6 per cent of those aged 75 and over have received a fourth.

This week, Nicola Sturgeon is expected to confirm if the legal requirement for the wearing of face masks in shops, hospitality venues, and on public transport will be scrapped next Monday (April 18).

It is also expected that people will no longer be asked to test regularly in workplaces, early learning and childcare settings, mainstream and special schools, and universities and colleges.