Sturgeon: No five-mile travel limit to see your parents

Scotland is on track to begin easing the lockdown from next Thursday, but Scots should 'use their judgement'.

Getty

You will be able to visit family members living in a different household even if it means travelling more than five miles, Nicola Sturgeon has confirmed.

Discussing changes likely to begin from the end of next week, the First Minister asked Scots to “use their judgement” when planning to meet other households.

As an example, she suggested that if you having to travel a long enough distance to visit relatives that you need to use the toilet in their house, you shouldn’t visit them.

There is a risk if you are infectious of leaving the virus on their surfaces, Sturgeon said, particularly if you are visiting elderly family members more vulnerable to coronavirus.

ADVERT

The Scottish Government’s plan for phase one of easing the Covid-19 lockdown says people can meet members of one other household outside, provided they stay socially distanced from each other.

However, the new guidance, published on Thursday, also instructs Scots to only travel locally for exercise or recreational purposes, suggesting a limit of five miles.

Speaking at the Scottish Government’s press briefing on Friday, Sturgeon clarified this five-mile limit did not extend to going to see family and loved ones.

She also further explained the rule on meeting other households, saying you can only visit members from one household at a time – but you can meet people from other households at different times.

ADVERT

The First Minister reiterated that none of these changes are in effect yet – for now, the lockdown remains in place and you must not meet other households.

She said: “We do need to stick with it for a few more days.

“Not all of the phase one measures will necessarily be introduced next Thursday, but I hope that most of them will be, or at least a day or two afterwards.”

Sturgeon continued: “You’ll be able in this first phase to sit outside or sunbathe in parks or other open areas.

“And as long as you stay two metres apart, you will be able to meet outside with people from another household including in private gardens.

“That doesn’t limit you to seeing just one specific household during this phase.

“You can see different households but we are asking you only to meet with one at a time.”

ADVERT

She added: “We’re also not intending to put a five-mile limit on the distance you can travel to, for example, sit with your parents in their garden.

“But we are asking you to use judgement, and increasingly as we come out of lockdown, I’m going to more and more be relying on you to exercise the good judgement that I know you will.

“If, for example, you have to travel a long distance to see a relative outside, you’re more likely to perhaps go inside the house to, for example, use the bathroom.

“We don’t want you to go inside others’ houses in this phase because if you are infectious, maybe without knowing about it, you risk leaving the virus on surfaces inside the house and that would pose a risk to other people.

“Particularly if you are visiting elderly relatives, that is a risk we do not want you to take.”

Scotland confirms 558 new coronavirus cases in record high

It amounts to 9.5% of newly-tested individuals, the highest percentage of positive tests seen during the second spike

Getty Images

Scotland has recorded 558 new coronavirus cases overnight, the most on record.

It amounts to 9.5% of newly-tested individuals, the highest proportion of positive tests since the government began publishing the data in July.

The World Health Organisation says countries who keep that percentage under 5% generally have their epidemic under control.

No new deaths have been reported in the last 24 hours, but First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said the organisation which notifies the Scottish Government of fatalities had suffered a power outage.

ADVERT

Of the new cases, 255 are in Greater Glasgow and Clyde, 61 in Lanarkshire and 119 in Lothian.

It comes as infections surge among student populations around the country, however, the First Minister insisted the new cases “are not just a university problem”.

On Thursday, the governing body Universities Scotland announced students will be banned from pubs and restaurants or from socialising outside their household this weekend in a bid to curb the spread.

At Friday’s briefing, Sturgeon stressed it was just a temporary measure to try to stem immediate Covid-19 outbreaks on campuses.

ADVERT

She added that the Scottish Government is assessing if students can be allowed to leave student accommodation to return to their family homes.

It follows new Scotland-wide restrictions this week banning people from visiting other people’s homes and imposing a 10pm curfew on all pubs, bars and restaurants.

Friday marks the second day this week the single-day record for new coronavirus cases in Scotland has been broken after 486 cases were announced on Wednesday.

There are 89 people in hospital around Scotland confirmed to have the virus, up by four in 24 hours.

Of these patients, 11 are in intensive care, up by one.

FM: Students not to blame but please follow new rules

Nicola Sturgeon addressed students after they were banned from pubs and socialising outside their households.

Getty Images

Nicola Sturgeon has insisted students are not to blame for a rise in coronavirus cases – but urged them to obey rules this weekend banning them from pubs and socialising outside their households.

The First Minister said she was “so heart sorry” for the situation students are now in and said she felt “especially for those of you starting university for the first time”.

It comes after students staying in halls were also told they cannot visit their parents’ homes indoors under current national restrictions.

On Thursday evening, strict new measures were announced for the weekend to stem campus outbreaks in Scotland.

ADVERT

Hundreds of cases have been linked to universities in recent days, with more than 1000 students self-isolating as a result.

Students face disciplinary action from their universities, up to and including expulsion, if they breach rules this weekend against visiting pubs, cafes and restaurants.

They are also forbidden from going to house parties, or from socialising with anyone outside their household or student accommodation.

In a statement on Thursday, the governing body Universities Scotland blamed the measures on the behaviour of a “minority” of students.

ADVERT

It warned it would take a “yellow card/red card” approach to breaches of the new rules, with expulsion from university a last-resort punishment for offending students.

But the country’s universities union UCU Scotland hit back against “blaming students” and said university principals had actively “encouraged” students back onto campuses en masse.

In a bid to provide reassurance to students and parents, Sturgeon addressed the issue at Friday’s Covid-19 briefing as she announced a record daily total of 558 new coronavirus cases.

Addressing students, Sturgeon said: “I am so sorry, so heart sorry, that this time of your lives is being made as tough as it is just now.

“I really feel for you, but I feel especially for those of you starting university for the first time and, of course, living alone for the first time.

“This is an exciting time in your lives but I remember from my own experience… that it’s also a time of adjustment and it’s also a time of home sickness as well, and that’s the case for students every year without Covid-19 but it is much more difficult given the circumstances you are all facing right now.”

She acknowledged some students feel they are being blamed for the spread of Covid-19 but declared: “That is not the case… it’s not your fault.”

ADVERT

The FM also clarified that students who work in the hospitality sector will be able to work their usual shifts over the September weekend.

But besides that exception, she urged students not to go to bars or restaurants or to visit other households.

She also called on students to download the Protect Scotland app, although stressed it is “not mandatory”.

Thursday’s Universities Scotland statement had suggested students would be “required” to download the contact tracing software.

The First Minister said universities have a “big, big responsibility” to look out for the welfare and mental wellbeing of their students.

She told the briefing: “I’ve spoken personally this morning to university principals to stress their responsibilities to you and I know it is something they take seriously, but I also know that it’s something that parents will want to be assured of.

“Student services already have special arrangements in place including 24-hour helplines, support for food deliveries and additional mental health counsellors for those who might need that support.”

Sturgeon said the Scottish Government is assessing whether self-isolating students can be allowed to leave their accommodation and return to their family homes, and fresh guidance on that could be issued over the weekend.

But she warned: “I’m going to be frank, that’s a difficult balancing act, because if you go home after you’ve been asked to self-isolate that may have implications for your family, who then also may be asked to self-isolate if you test positive.

“I wanted to let you know that we are looking at what might be possible there and it is our aim to issue some further guidance on that over the weekend.”

She also thanked students for their compliance, adding: “You’re bearing a burden that I desperately wish you didn’t have to be bearing right now, but you’re playing your collective part in beating Covid-19 back.

“For that, you have my thanks and deep appreciation, and also understanding of how difficult this is for you at this time.”

Going home after six months in hospital with coronavirus

Niall Williams has issued a warning to those not taking Covid-19 seriously after spending months in intensive care.

A man who spent six months battling Covid-19 has issued a stark warning to people who are not taking the virus seriously. 

Niall Williams is leaving the Cameron Rehab facility near Leven to go home for the first time since March.

He has been in hospital with the disease longer than probably anyone else in Scotland.

Mr Williams spent months in intensive care, part of that in an induced coma and even after intensive physio, he still faces major challenges.

ADVERT

While he begins his recovery following his long fight with coronavirus he wants to use his experience as a warning to those who are not following the government health guidelines.

He told STV News: “Follow what you’ve been asked to do. Face masks, washing hands all the time. Be ultra careful because otherwise you could be a cropper like I was.

‘People are not realising this is an invisible disease.’

Niall Williams

“People are not realising this is an invisible disease. You can pick it up in many ways and so easily. 

“I basically got damaged, respiratory issues that may come back after time, who knows? Because we don’t know about this yet. But being able to breathe deeply and being active – it’s hard.

ADVERT

“I become fatigued very, very quickly. There isn’t going to be a normal life. It’s going to take time to get back to where I was.

“Follow the rules, they are not putting them in place because they feel like it. There’s a real hard reason and scientific facts behind it.

“They are there to protect us and I just ask everybody please just follow them because you’re going to allow other people to survive if you do. It is as simple as that.”


Infected students say university outbreaks are ‘inevitable’

Students who contracted coronavirus after starting university reckon the spread in their accommodation was hard to avoid.

Pixabay
Glasgow University has issued warnings for students to avoid social interactions.

Students who contracted coronavirus after starting university have said an outbreak in their accommodation was inevitable.

One student said she has now been isolating for nearly a month, having been placed in an initial 14-day quarantine on arrival from California.

The teenager and three other people in her eight-person flat in Glasgow University’s Murano Street Student Village have now tested positive for Covid-19.

The complex is the university’s largest halls of residence and can house 1175 students.

ADVERT

The 18-year-old, who is studying international relations and sociology, said she is having to wash her clothes in the sink as the laundry is outside the flat.

The residents of the flat had already been isolating for five days when she received her positive test result on Friday morning.

She said: “With this many kids in this small an area, it was bound to happen.

“We have it, so the negative people are cooking. They will drop off food outside our doors.

ADVERT

“It’s really hard not to mix, our kitchen is small and we have to share a bathroom. We’ve been wearing masks.”

She said she has been getting support from her family and new flatmates.

“I’ve been watching a lot of movies and just trying to focus on other things,” she added.

‘It’s freshers’ week – it just happens. You couldn’t stop it if you tried.’

Student

One flatmate, 19, from London, who also tested positive on Friday morning, said he arrived late to the flat and it had already been placed in isolation.

He said: “It’s freshers’ week – it just happens. You couldn’t stop it if you tried.

“I was washing my hands everywhere I went.

“I’m sort of glad I’ve got it so it’s out the way.”

ADVERT

The flatmates had already booked a test at Glasgow Caledonian University in another part of the city before they discovered a mobile testing unit had been set up at Murano Street.

Another student in separate accommodation at the complex said there had been some positive cases in her 12-person flat, but she had tested negative.

The 19-year-old from London, who is studying medicine, said: “The uni put in place all the precautions they could, but things happen.

“As much as it’s horrible to have to be isolating already, we’re still getting to know each other so it’s not as bad as it could be.”


Man dies after being hit by car while crossing road

The 53-year-old pedestrian was struck by a white Audi in Glasgow at around 10.10pm on Thursday.

Google 2020
Glasgow: The incident happened on Great Western Road, near to Cowdenhill Road.

A man has died after being knocked down by a car whilst crossing a road in Glasgow.

The 53-year-old pedestrian was struck by a white Audi in the Knightswood area of the city at around 10.10pm on Thursday.

The incident happened on Great Western Road, near to Cowdenhill Road.

Emergency services attended and the man was taken to the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital, where he died a short time later.

ADVERT

The 20-year-old male driver was uninjured.

Sergeant Paul McPherson said: “Whilst we were able to speak to a number of people last night following the crash, we’d still like to hear from anyone, particularly drivers with dashcam footage who were in the area at the time.  

“We’re also keen to speak to the driver of a black Toyota Avensis private hire taxi who had stopped to assist but left just before police arrived.  

“He might have information that will help our inquiry.”

ADVERT

If you have any information, call 101.


Golden eagle feared dead after tag found wrapped in lead

The bird of prey has been missing since its tag stopped transmitting suddenly on a grouse moor in Perthshire in 2016.

RSPB Images
Missing: The golden eagle is feared dead after its tag was found wrapped in lead.

A wildlife charity is on the hunt for a potential golden eagle killer after the bird’s satellite tag was found wrapped in heavy lead at a river.

The bird of prey has been missing since its tag stopped transmitting suddenly on a grouse moor in Perthshire in 2016.

Despite searches, it was never found.

Following the recovery of its tag, RSPB Scotland now believe it was illegally killed and said it shows the “lengths raptor killers will go to conceal crime”.

Discovery: The tag was wrapped in heavy lead and dumped at River Braan. RSPB SCOTLAND
ADVERT

Ian Thomson, RSPB Scotland’s head of investigations said: “As is the case in virtually every raptor persecution investigation, nobody seemed to know anything and, as is the case with every suspicious satellite-tagged raptor disappearance on a grouse moor, spurious alternative theories as to what may have happened to the bird and tag were suggested.

“However, now we know the truth. This young eagle was killed illegally.

“The tag was clearly removed from the bird, its antenna was cut off, and the tag was then wrapped in a piece of lead sheeting, presumably because the perpetrator thought this would stop it transmitting. 

“The package was then cast into the river, never to be seen again. Or so they thought.”

River Braan: A walker and his son found the package. RSPB SCOTLAND
ADVERT

After fledging from its nest, the young eagle had remained on its parents’ territory until November 2014. 

Over the following 18 months, it explored Scotland’s uplands before it moved onto Strathbraan. 

On May 1, 2016, his tag “suddenly and inexplicably stopped”.

Four years later, the lead package was discovered by a walker and his son on the banks of the River Braan near Dunkeld on May 21, just a few miles away from the bird’s last known location.

It’s now in the hands of Police Scotland for forensic analysis in the hope to catch those responsible.

Mr Thomson added: “This discovery gives unequivocal proof not only of what is happening to these birds, but also the lengths to which the criminals involved in the killing of our raptors will go to dispose of evidence and evade justice.”


Man accused of attempted murder with chainsaw

David Scott, 23, has been accused of attacking one man with a chainsaw and another with a machete.

Google 2020
Court: David Scott has pleaded not guilty to each of his charges.

A man has denied attempting to murder someone with a chainsaw.

David Scott, 23, has been accused of attacking Cameron Baxter, 35, at an address in Blackburn’s Rowan Place, West Lothian, on May 6.

It is alleged he started up a chainsaw and then struck Mr Baxter with it.

Scott also denies assaulting Connor Smith by throwing a machete at him and striking him on the leg.

ADVERT

He is also charged with earlier approaching Mr Baxter, Mr Smith and Craig McCormack while masked and in possession of a knife, repeatedly discharging an air rifle and brandishing a machete and a chainsaw.

Scott is also accused of attempting to pervert the course of justice by running from police and hiding in a sofa at a house in Mosside Road, Blackburn.

At the High Court in Glasgow on Friday, Scott’s solicitor, advocate Ewan Roy, entered not guilty pleas to all the charges.

Scott was not in court during the hearing.

ADVERT

Mr Roy said: “A special defence of self defence has been lodged. I am ready for trial, although we are not in a position to set a trial. The trial is expected to last five or six days.”

The case is ready to proceed, however due to the coronavirus pandemic a trial date cannot be set.

Judge Lord Beckett continued the case until December where it is hoped a trial could be set then.


Edinburgh’s Usher Hall opens as coronavirus testing centre

The city centre site opens amid a number of outbreaks at student halls of residence.

Usher Hall: Opens as testing centre.

A new walk-in coronavirus testing centre has opened at the Usher Hall concert venue in Edinburgh.

The city centre site opens amid a number of outbreaks at student halls of residence across Scotland, including 120 cases at Edinburgh Napier University, and a small number at Queen Margaret University and the University of Edinburgh.

Facilities management firm Mitie will run the Usher Hall centre with the UK Government, offering pre-booked tests in a location accessible by people who do not have a car.

A team has been working since Wednesday to transform the Georgian building into a testing centre, with booths set up in the foyer areas.

ADVERT

Ric Fyfe, mobilisation lead at Mitie, said it is an “amazing” venue and staff have been careful to preserve the building.

He told the PA news agency: “We’re in central Edinburgh, we’re in an iconic venue.

“The Usher Hall have very kindly let us use their facility and it’s easy for people to get to.

“It’s an amazing venue with a lot of space.

ADVERT

“It’s about making sure we take what is a beautiful old building and we make sure we preserve the marble floors… But also we make sure it can be clinically cleaned.”

Scotland Office minister Iain Stewart said: “The UK Government is committed to helping all parts of the UK fight coronavirus.

“We are providing the bulk of Covid testing in Scotland, and this new walk-through centre in Edinburgh comes on top of nine other testing sites across Scotland funded by the UK Government, as well as the Glasgow Lighthouse lab.

“Testing will play a vital part over the coming months, helping to manage local outbreaks and protect livelihoods.

“This walk-through centre will help people in Edinburgh have easy access to a test in the city centre.

“We are pleased to be working with commercial partners and with Edinburgh’s iconic Usher Hall.

“These sites are not possible without the hard work of many people and I would like to thank everyone involved for their incredible efforts.”


Four people taken to hospital after house fire

The casualties were treated for smoke inhalation by medics, with four of them taken to hospital.

Fire: Six people were injured in the blaze. Picture by Sunny Govan Memories

Six people have been injured following a fire in Glasgow.

The casualties were treated for smoke inhalation by medics, with four of them taken to hospital.

Emergency services were alerted to the blaze at a house in Govan’s Elder Street shortly after 6am on Friday.

The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) sent six engines to extinguish the flames. One remains at the scene.

Emergency Services currently at an ongoing incident on Govan Road / Elder Street an hour ago, reports of a house fire. We hope everyone is OK & Safe.

Posted by Sunny Govan Memories on Friday, September 25, 2020
ADVERT

Sunny Govan Memories posted a picture of the emergency response, adding: “We hope everyone is ok and safe.”

A SFRS spokesperson said: “We were alerted at 6.12am on Friday, September 25 to reports of a dwelling fire in Glasgow.

“Operations control mobilised six appliances to the city’s Elder Street, where firefighters extinguished the fire.

“Six casualties were passed into the care of paramedics suffering from mild to moderate smoke inhalation.

ADVERT

“Four of the casualties were then taken to the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital.

“One fire appliance currently remains at the scene.”


You're up to date

You've read today's top stories. Where would you like to go next?