South Scotland MSP Joan McAlpine has expressed condolences to the family and friends of the first COVID-19 patients to die of the virus in Dumfries and Galloway.

The deaths were confirmed by the D&G health board on Monday afternoon. No further information on the patients or if they have any underlying health conditions has so far been released in order to protect their privacy.

Commenting, Ms McAlpine says,

“I’m so sorry to hear that patients in Dumfries and Galloway have lost their lives to the coronavirus and send my deepest condolences to their family and friends.

“The warning from NHS D&G to expect a significant increase in the number of deaths over the coming days and weeks is very concerning and underlines the need to stay at home unless absolutely necessary.

“Recent figures show that Dumfries and Galloway currently has the second highest infection rate per head of population of any region in mainland Scotland. The only way to stop its spread is to follow the strict social distancing advice. Staying home saves lives.”

Dumfries and Galloway, with 74 cases, has 4.97 cases per 10,000 people has the second highest number confirmed cases per head of population in mainland Scotland. Borders has 5.48 cases per 10,000 people and Shetland has 11.74. <>