Coronavirus: Scotland records another 290 cases overnight

It's the highest number of daily infections in the country since May 1, and is 4% of newly-tested Scots.

Glasgow City Council

Scotland has recorded 290 new coronavirus cases in the past 24 hours, the highest daily figure since May 1.

Of the new cases, 112 are in the Greater Glasgow and Clyde health board region and 52 in Lanarkshire, where a ban on indoor household gatherings is in place in seven council areas.

Another 47 new infections are in the Lothian area, where there are currently no extra regional Covid-19 restrictions.

The 290 new infections Scotland-wide account for 4% of all newly-tested people, the highest percentage since the Scottish Government began publishing this data in July.

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The World Health Organisation says a positivity rate of 5% or higher in a country suggests the epidemic is no longer under control.

Speaking before First Minister’s Questions, Nicola Sturgeon said no new deaths of confirmed coronavirus patients have been reported overnight.

She added the government’s scientists estimate the R number in Scotland – the number of people each infected person infects in turn – is above one, and potentially as high as 1.4.

The First Minister said 52 people are in hospital being treated for Covid-19 around the country, up one in the last 24 hours.

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Of those, five patients are in intensive care, a decrease of one.

The Scottish Government is carefully considering whether further coronavirus restrictions may be necessary for all or part of the country amid rising cases, Sturgeon told MSPs.

There remain specific local restrictions on private indoor gatherings in place until at least next week in Glasgow City, East and West Dunbartonshire, Renfrewshire, East Renfrewshire and North and South Lanarkshire.

In addition, new regulations come into force on Monday limiting all social gatherings in Scotland (including indoor and outdoor meetings) to no more than six adults from a maximum of two households.

Children under 12 are not counted in the six-person limit provided they come from either of the two households.

Nicola Sturgeon to give Covid update as Army called in to help NHS

More than a thousand people are in Scottish hospitals with recently confirmed coronavirus.

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The Ministry of Defence confirmed it had been requested to support to deal with a crisis in ambulance waiting times.

The First Minister will give an update on the state of the coronavirus pandemic in Scotland as the Army is called in to ease pressure on the NHS.

Nicola Sturgeon will speak in parliament on Tuesday afternoon as more than 1000 people remain in hospitals across the country with Covid-19.

The Ministry of Defence confirmed it had been asked to help deal with a crisis in ambulance waiting times.

A total of 1088 people were in hospital on Sunday with recently confirmed Covid-19, a rise of 14 overnight, with 97 patients in intensive care.

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With a shortage of beds and ambulances queueing up across the west of Scotland, closing the NHS Louisa Jordan, Scotland’s temporary emergency critical care hospital, may be “one of the worst decisions” made during the pandemic, a GP has said.

“You’ve got an NHS that works, before the pandemic, at maximum capacity, then when you suddenly have the crisis of a global pandemic, you don’t have sufficient beds,” Dr John Montgomery told STV News.

Sturgeon apologised to people who had endure long waits for ambulances, including the family of 65-year-old Gerard Brown, the Glasgow man who died while waiting 40 hours for treatment.

Dr Sandesh Gulhane, shadow cabinet secretary for health and an NHS doctor, said he saw double the amount of patients he would normally have seen in pre-pandemic times last week.

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Children in Scotland aged between 12 and 15-year-olds are now being offered one dose of the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine as drop-in clinics opened on Monday.

Next week, letters will be sent to all children in the age group inviting them to an appointment.

Sturgeon is expected to give her update at around 2.20pm in Holyrood.


Dementia patients rediscover zest for life through music

Health and social care workers urged to consider personalised playlists for people living with dementia.

STV News

Carol Tapper says she hit rock bottom when she was diagnosed with early onset dementia.

The 55-year-old thought she was dying and couldn’t stop crying.

But thanks to the power of music she has now done all her ‘greeting’ and is enjoying life again.

Carol is an ambassador for the charity Playlist for Life, which encourages people diagnosed with dementia to create unique, personal music playlists to boost their mood and evoke happy memories.

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“You’ve no idea how happy it makes me,” she told STV News.

“I don’t need to think about anything, I don’t need to remember I’ve got dementia, I can just put my playlist on and I’m singing and dancing.

“It’s made a massive difference to my life.”

Now, on World Alzheimer’s Day, Playlist for Life is calling for health and social care workers to learn how to swap medicine for music to support people living with dementia.

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The charity is working with carers and nurses to encourage the use of personalised playlists with residents and patients living with dementia.

It says staff at one care home near Glasgow using the playlists reported a 60% reduction in the use of medication to calm anxiety for those with the condition.

And that’s something Carol, who is cared for by her husband Malcolm in Carnwath, South Lanarkshire, can relate to.

She said: “I’ve got songs from when I was at primary school and I’ve got songs from my first ever big disco, and right through to my daughter Heather’s first concert, taking her to see the Spice Girls, and all our wedding songs.

“Honestly, it’s such a wonderful thing, it makes you so happy. I’ve got my playlist in my earphones and I can take it out to my shed, Malcolm has built me a pink shed, and I take it out to the shed and I do my art and just sing my heart out.”

STV News
Malcolm and Carol Tapper.

Malcolm, who became depressed while caring for Carol, has made his own playlist and says the initiative has breathed new life into their relationship.

“Carol was very down before we had the playlist,” he said.

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“She just went into a world of her own and we lost a lot of our conversations, it was very difficult to have a conversation with Carol because all I was getting back was one-word answers.

“But as soon as we got the playlist put in, and the memory book as well. We’ve only been married 17 years, so Carol’s got a lot of memories I don’t know anything about, the memory book is for me.

“When the music starts I can then start a conversation about that particular memory and Carol, just like that, comes to life, it’s a lightbulb moment, and for me the playlist is the closest thing for a cure to dementia that you’re going to get.

“If she didn’t have a playlist she would have gone into a deep depression.”

Power of music

Working with care homes, NHS wards and higher education institutions across the UK, Playlist for Life trains health and social care teams to use music as the first line of treatment before medication.

Michelle Armstrong-Surgenor, executive director of Playlist for Life, said the power of music in helping dementia patients was never more evident than during the coronavirus pandemic.

She said: “Everyone has their own story to tell through the music that brings back memories from their life. This is also true for many people living with dementia, and certain songs have the ability to calm anxieties and provide comfort.

“Working with health and social care professionals in particular, we have found that personalised playlists can benefit both the person living with dementia and the care professional.

“Finding the musical soundtrack of someone’s life helps strengthen relationships and allows the caregiver to see the person beyond the dementia diagnosis, through the music that is important to them.”

Laura and Colin

Laura McConnell’s uncle, Colin McDowall, had an industrial accident when he was 26-years-old. He was electrocuted twice while working on railway lines in London.

He was taken to the city’s Royal Free Hospital and underwent brain surgery. The prognosis was not good but Colin survived and he has learnt how to walk, talk and recognise people once again.

He eventually moved in with his sister and her family. Colin doesn’t have an official dementia diagnosis but many of the symptoms of his condition are similar.

“My parents took him, my mother is Colin’s sister, so he became our wee brother really even though he was older,” Laura told STV News.

STV News
Colin McDowall and his niece Laura McConnell.

“He’s come on leaps and bounds – the big problem is the memory and he’s partially blind, he’s got tunnel vision.

“Colin loves music, it changes him when he hears music. When he hears something he starts dancing, even if you’re in Tesco.

“It’s wonderful as a carer to see him so happy. It’s not just his mood, it’s his whole being, the way he walks after it, he’s more talkative, it’s wonderful.”

Colin says he enjoys every minute of creating his musical playlists

He said: “Every little thing I do in there I love to do because it’s great, I really love it.

“I keep trying to think of who sung it and where I was. I can remember who sung it but I can’t remember their name, I can see them. It really does boost my mood.”

Stagecoach and National Express in merger talks

National Express would own around 75% of the combined group and Stagecoach shareholders around 25% under terms of the possible deal.

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Stagecoach has confirmed talks over a potential all-share takeover by rival National Express.

Stagecoach has confirmed talks over a potential all-share takeover by rival National Express in a move that would bring together two of the UK’s biggest transport groups.

Under the terms of the possible all-share tie-up, National Express would own around 75% of the combined group and Stagecoach shareholders around 25%.

It comes after both firms have been hit hard by the pandemic, with passenger numbers slumping during the crisis.

The groups have outlined plans to slash costs as part of the potential merger, with National Express saying it expects to find annual savings of at least £35m, with around 25% by the end of the first year.

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If the talks lead to a deal, the combined group would see Stagecoach chairman Ray O’Toole become chairman of the board.

National Express boss Ignacio Garat would be chief executive of the enlarged group.


No money paid into abuse survivor scheme despite looming deadline

Redress Scotland would offer financial payments to those subject to abuse in care before December 2004.

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Care: The scheme will issue payments to abuse victims.

No money has been paid into a financial redress scheme for abuse survivors despite the Scottish Government claiming it will be ready to start by the end of the year.

Redress Scotland was set up following the passage of legislation in March, and would offer financial payments of up to £100,000 to those subject to abuse in care before December 2004.

To help fund the scheme, legislation passed earlier this year said funding packages would be negotiated with organisations “who, in making or agreeing to make such a contribution, acknowledge the wrongfulness of, and the harm caused by, the historical child abuse which took place in relevant care settings”.

But the Scottish Government has said it remains confident of opening applications by the end of this year, and negotiations with contributors are in “advanced” stages.

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The Redress for Survivors (Historical Child Abuse in Care) (Scotland) Act 2021 included a controversial waiver which meant those who paid into the scheme could not be subject to legal action from recipients of payouts in relation to past abuse allegations.

Deputy First Minister John Swinney – who proposed the Bill and shepherded it through parliament – said the waiver was a way to ensure organisations would contribute, by protecting them from further financial reparations in the future.

However, a freedom of information request shows no payments have yet been secured, despite the Bill being passed six months ago and a goal of opening for applications by the end of the year.

The response from the Scottish Government said: “No money has yet been contributed towards the funding of redress payments under the Act by any authority, organisation or person.”

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A spokeswoman for the Scottish Government said: “Discussions regarding participation in the scheme have been ongoing for some time and are at an advanced stage.

“No money has been received from contributing organisations yet as discussions are about securing contributions to the scheme in advance of it opening to applications.”

She added that there were no concerns around the funding of the scheme, which would be bankrolled primarily by public funds, with contributions from outside organisations being supplementary.

“The scheme will be funded by the Scottish Government with support from the contributions received from organisations,” she said.

“Redress payments to survivors are not dependent on contributions from any organisations.”

Some payments have already been made by the Scottish Government through a precursor scheme aimed at older survivors.

As of April 2021, more than 580 payments of £10,000 had been made to survivors over the age of 68 or terminally ill, in a bid to ensure they are compensated in their lifetime for abuse suffered while in the care system in Scotland.

Scottish Government to double climate fund for poorest countries

The announcement comes ahead of a debate on climate change policy in Holyrood on Tuesday.

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The fund will rise from £3m per year to £6m.

The Scottish Government is set to announce the doubling of a climate fund aimed at benefiting the poorest countries in the world.

Ahead of a debate on climate change in Holyrood on Tuesday, net zero secretary Michael Matheson has said the climate justice fund will increase from £3m to £6m until the end of this parliamentary term.

The fund was set up in 2012 and has, among other initiatives, provided £3.2m to rural communities in Malawi to help them mitigate the impact of climate change.

Ahead of the debate, Matheson said: “With COP26 coming to Glasgow, this is a pivotal year for making sure countries in the global south have the support they need to tackle climate change.

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“That’s why we are doubling our financial support for some of the world’s most vulnerable nations.

“We have committed to ending our contribution to climate change within a generation and we are making great progress – Scotland is already more than halfway to net zero.

“To play our full role in supporting the aims of the Paris agreement, we must also be an ally to the nations most urgently impacted by climate change.

“By doubling our funding for those countries, we will provide much-needed support for those that, while making up only a fraction of the world’s emissions, are already feeling the effects severely.”

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Jamie Livingstone, the head of Oxfam Scotland, said: “Right now, across the world, people are losing their lives and homes to climate change.

“This announcement by the Scottish Government is a very welcome and timely acknowledgement that faster action to reduce our emissions must  be accompanied by an urgent scaling up of the financial support given to vulnerable countries that are not only the least responsible for the climate crisis, but also the least equipped to cope with it.

“The detail of where this extra money comes from is important too; with only weeks to go until crunch Cop26 climate talks in Glasgow, Scotland should bolster its global leadership by signalling its intent to tax the high emitters that are making the climate emergency worse.

“Doing so would send a powerful message to the rest of the world that climate change isn’t just a matter of science, technology or economics, it’s a matter of justice.”


Man, 46, dies at scene after falling from motorcycle

The man was part of a group of motorcyclists when the crash took place.

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Ambulance: Man pronounced dead at scene.

A man has died after crashing and falling from his motorcycle in Argyll.

The 46-year-old was pronounced dead at the scene of the incident that took place on the A816 road at around 9.55am on Monday.

He was riding a BMW motorcyle as part of a larger group before the crash.

Police and emergency services were in attendance but the man could not be saved.

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Officers are now appealing for witnesses.

Sergeant Paul Macpherson of Police Scotland’s Road Policing Unit said: “Our thoughts are with the man’s family and friends at this time. 

“We are working to establish the full circumstances which led to this crash and would urge anyone who can help to come forward. 

“The man was riding north on the A816 as part of a group of motorcycles before the crash and we would urge anyone who witnessed the incident or who may have dashcam footage to get in touch. 

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“Anyone who can help is asked to call 101.”


Zoo visitor warning after chimp spotted with her stillborn baby

Edinburgh Zoo keepers have apologised for any distress caused as they give the primate time to grieve.

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Zoo keepers have apologised to visitors for any distress.

Edinburgh Zoo has issued a warning to visitors after one of its chimpanzees was spotted clutching her stillborn baby.

Keepers say Lianne, the 32-year-old primate, is not letting go of the baby chimp due to her “strong maternal instincts”.

Zoo staff have apologised to visitors for any distress and said they are waiting for the chimp to leave her baby naturally or for any opportunity to safely retrieve it.

David Field, Royal Zoological Society of Scotland chief executive, said: “Sadly one of our chimps recently had a stillborn baby which she is holding onto due to her strong maternal instincts.

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“While this is natural behaviour which you would find in the wild, we understand it may be upsetting to see and have placed warning signs for visitors at the entrances of our chimpanzee viewing areas.

“It could take some time for our keepers to safely retrieve the baby and we are sorry for any distress this may cause.”


Pedestrian dies after being struck by police van

The vehicle did not have blue lights or sirens activated at the time of the incident.

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The woman was taken to hospital, but died shortly after.

An investigation has been launched after a woman died having been hit by a police van.

The incident took place at around 8.20pm on Merry Street in Motherwell, North Lanarkshire, on Sunday.

The woman, 58, was hit by a marked Ford Transit, which was on routine duties at the time.

It did not have blue lights or sirens activated, police have said.

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Following the collision, the woman was taken to the University Hospital Wishaw, but was pronounced dead shortly after.

Neither of the two police officers who were in the car at the time of the incident were injured.

Police Scotland say that the woman’s next of kin have been made aware and are being supported by specialist officers.

An investigation into the circumstances is being carried out by Police Scotland’s Road Policing Unit and the incident has been referred to the Police Investigations and Review Commissioner (Pirc).

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Sergeant John Tait, of the Road Policing Unit in Motherwell, said: “Our enquiries into this incident are ongoing and I would urge anyone who may have witnessed the collision or who has any other information to come forward. 

“We would be particularly keen to speak to anyone who may have dashcam or private CCTV footage from the area. 

“Anyone with information can call 101, quoting incident 3309 of September 19.”


Father ‘shell-shocked’ after almost losing son to hospital infection

The 10-year-old boy had a kidney removed after being diagnosed with cancer.

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Inquiry: Looking into the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital.

A father has told how he was left “shell shocked” after he almost lost his son to a hospital-acquired infection following an operation to remove the boy’s kidney.

Cameron Gough told the Scottish Hospitals Inquiry he did not expect to be put in a position where “a building almost killed our son”.

The inquiry began hearing evidence on Monday into problems at two flagship Scottish hospitals that contributed to the deaths of two children.

Mr Gough’s 10-year-old son was diagnosed with cancer after he became unwell in July 2018 when he was aged seven, and was found to have a kidney tumour.

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In early September 2018 he had an operation to remove the kidney but his condition deteriorated after the operation and his room filled with medical staff battling to stabilise him.

Mr Gough told the inquiry: “When you see the fear in doctors’ eyes, the fear of the intelligent people, not the trainees but the really intelligent people, that’s scary, that was difficult to cope with and we kind of steeled ourselves for dealing with cancer and the implications of cancer, what we didn’t expect was to be put in a position where a building almost killed our son.

“And that’s really to put it brutally, a hospital-acquired infection was the point we came closest to losing our son.

“Later I said, it was only a line infection, compared to what had happened with cancer and getting the kidney removed it was only a line infection and the doctors said no, this was the thing we are most concerned about.

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“That put the fear of God in me, because my son has just had his kidney out, he has just had treatment for cancer and the most concerning thing about this weekend is a line infection.”

Mr Gough told the inquiry that the same thing happened the following day, and medical staff again managed to stabilise his son.

He was told the problem was a hospital-acquired infection, described as a “poo bug”.

Mr Gough said that he was left “shell shocked” by the experience and said “it shot my confidence in the hospital an awful lot”.

He praised the Schiehallion unit, the children’s cancer unit at the QEUH, but said he was concerned about levels of cleanliness in other areas of the hospital and said that on one occasion he found “brown matter” on the bed in the room that his son was placed in and had to have it changed.

After that experience he started cleaning rooms his son was put in as he was not confident they were clean.

The inquiry is investigating the construction of the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital (QEUH) campus in Glasgow and the Royal Hospital for Children and Young People and Department of Clinical Neurosciences in Edinburgh.

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The inquiry was ordered after patients at the Glasgow hospital died from infections linked to pigeon droppings and the water supply, and the opening of the Edinburgh site was delayed due to concerns over the ventilation system.

Steve Love QC is appearing on behalf of 54 parents or family members of patients, represented by Thompsons Solicitors Scotland, who were or are still being treated on the children’s cancer ward and neonatal unit at QEUH.

In his opening statement, he said children were “faced was serious infections, life threatening additional illnesses and a catalogue of other problems as a result of the hospital environment, the hospital water supply and the conduct of some of the medical staff there”.

Mr Love said: “Parents of the children affected want answers for what happened, what went wrong and why.

“Many of them have lost faith in the hospital as a safe place for their children to be treated.”

Earlier this year, an independent review found the deaths of two children at the QEUH were at least in part the result of infections linked to the hospital environment.

The review investigated 118 episodes of serious bacterial infection in 84 children and young people who received treatment for blood disease, cancer or related conditions at the Royal Hospital for Children at the campus.

It found a third of these infections were “most likely” to have been linked to the hospital environment.

Two of 22 deaths were, “at least in part”, the result of their infection, it said.

In his opening statement, Peter Gray QC, representing NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, said it welcomed the inquiry and is determined to ensure that the issues which have required to be addressed in both hospitals do not arise in other future NHS infrastructure projects.

The inquiry in Edinburgh, chaired by Lord Brodie, continues.


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