A total of 719 positive coronavirus cases have now been recorded in Scotland, an increase of 135 from 584 on Tuesday.

There are now 57 cases of the virus in Ayrshire and Arran, an increase of 16 since yesterday.

The updated coronavirus death toll of 22 across Scotland has also been confirmed, an increase of six deaths in 24 hours.

The Scottish Government is setting up its own expert advisory group to help in the Covid-19 battle, Nicola Sturgeon has confirmed.

Scotland’s First Minister announced the move as she revealed the number of coronavirus deaths in the country has risen to 22.

That is up by six from Tuesday’s total of 16, the First Minister said, adding a further 51 people are in intensive care suffering from Covid-19 or with symptoms of the virus.

Ms Sturgeon said: “It is clear that we are now seeing a rapid rise in coronavirus cases in Scotland and we have sustained evidence of community transmission.”

For this reason, she told Scots it is “vital” restrictions imposed during the period of lockdown are complied with.

“It will be sometime before life returns to normal,” she said.

To help with the fight against coronavirus, Ms Sturgeon said the new advisory body is being set up to give “the fullest possible understanding of exactly how the virus is spreading in Scotland”.

During a media briefing at the Scottish Government’s HQ on Wednesday afternoon, Ms Sturgeon said the advisory body will be chaired by Professor Andrew Morris from the University of Edinburgh, who is also chief scientist at the Scottish Government’s health directorate.

Professor David Crossman, the dean of medicine at the University of St Andrews, will serve as vice-chairman.

The new Scottish Government Covid-19 advisory group will supplement the work of Sage – the UK Scientific Advisory Group on Emergencies – which has been advising ministers north and south of the border.

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