First batch of Moderna vaccine arrives in Scotland

Scotland is due to receive more than one million of the 17m doses ordered by the UK.

Scotland is due to receive more than one million doses. WPA Pool / Pool via Getty Images
Scotland is due to receive more than one million doses.

The first batch of the Moderna vaccine has arrived in Scotland.

More than a million doses have been ordered for Scotland but will arrive over a series of months.

It’s the third approved vaccine to be made available in the UK after AztraZenica and Pfizer.

Almost 2.6m people in Scotland have already received at least their first dose of the jab.

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First Minister Nicola Sturgeon confirmed the arrival of Moderna batches during a Covid briefing on Tuesday.

She said: “It is important to stress that the Moderna vaccines will arrive over a period of months – not all at once and the doses we expect to receive are already factored in to our forward projections.

“The arrival of this first batch doesn’t mean that we are able to accelerate the vaccination programme. The speed of vaccination is already taking account of the expected Moderna supplies.

“Nevertheless, the fact that we now have three vaccines in use is clearly very welcome and it does give us additional security of supply which is important.”

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The arrival comes as UK health secretary Matt Hancock said the Valneva vaccine, which is set to be manufactured in Livingston, produces a “strong immune response”.

Data from an early-stage phase one/two study involving 153 people showed promising results for the jab, paving the way for phase three clinical trial.

The vaccine was safe and generally well tolerated, with no safety concerns identified by an independent data safety monitoring board.

The company said the results showed the vaccine was “highly immunogenic with more than 90% of all study participants developing significant levels of antibodies” to the Covid virus spike protein.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the findings were “very promising news” and the jab would be a “crucial weapon” against the disease providing it gained approval by regulators.


Holyrood pays tribute to ‘extraordinary’ Duke of Edinburgh

Prince Philip, Queen Elizabeth II’s husband, passed away on Friday morning at Windsor Castle.

Yui Mok - WPA Pool via Getty Images

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon led tributes to the late Duke of Edinburgh at Holyrood.

The Scottish Parliament was recalled on Monday for only the sixth time in its history so as MSPs could show their respect to Prince Philip in a motion of condolence.

The 99-year-old, Queen Elizabeth II’s husband, passed away on Friday morning at Windsor Castle.

The Duke and the Queen were married for more than 70 years and Philip dedicated decades of his life to royal duty, serving the nation at the monarch’s side.

STV News
Royal: Holyrood paid tribute to the Duke of Edinburgh.
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Following a one-minute silence in remembrance, Sturgeon said: “The tributes paid to the Duke of Edinburgh over these last three days show the affection in which he was held here in Scotland, across the United Kingdom and indeed around the world.

“On behalf of the people of Scotland I express my deepest sympathy to Her Majesty The Queen, who is grieving the loss of her strength and stay, her husband of almost 74 years, and also to the Duke’s children and to the wider Royal Family.”

STV News
Holyrood: A minute’s silence was held for the Duke of Edinburgh.

The First Minister highlighted his life-saving efforts during the Second World War, and like so many of his generation the Duke had “endured difficulties and faced dangers that generations since can barely comprehend”.

Sturgeon described the relationship between The Queen and the Duke as a “true partnership”.

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She said: “He faced the additional challenge of being the husband of a powerful woman at a time when that was even more of an exception than it is today.

“That reversal of the more traditional dynamic was highly unusual in the 1940s, 50s and 60s, and even now isn’t as common as it might be.

“Yet, the Duke of Edinburgh was devoted to supporting the Queen – they were a true partnership.”

Chris Jackson via Getty Images
Braemar Gathering: The Queen, Prince Philip, Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall.

The FM said she enjoyed speaking to the Duke about the books they were reading when she would stay at Balmoral.

She added: “He was a thoughtful man, deeply interesting and fiercely intelligent.

“He was also a serious book worm, which I am too, so talking about the books we were reading was often for me a real highlight of our conversations.”

Sturgeon highlighted his interest in industry and science and said he was “far-sighted” in his early support for conservation.

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She added: “Indeed, as far back as 1969 in a speech here in Edinburgh he warned of the risks of ‘virtually indestructible’ plastics.

“Of course, in 1956 he founded the Duke of Edinburgh Award scheme which now every year provides opportunity, hope and inspiration to more than one million young people in more than 100 countries across the world.”

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Just married: Princess Elizabeth and Prince Philip on their wedding day.

The First Minister said “it is right that our parliament pays tribute” to the Duke.

She added: “In doing so, we mourn his passing and we extend our deepest sympathy to Her Majesty The Queen and her family.

“We reflect on his distinguished war-time record, his love and support for The Queen and his decades of public service to Scotland, the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth.

“Above all, we celebrate and we honour an extraordinary life.”

The Scottish Conservatives’ Ruth Davidson said she couldn’t imagine what “it is like to be married to someone for 73 years”.

She added: “And I can’t imagine what it is to have to get up and face every future day without them – what that absence feels like.

“And I think the recognition of the enormity of such a loss is what has led so many over the past few days to look past the titles and the 41 gun salutes and have such a sense of feeling for Her Majesty on such a human level.”

Davidson described the Duke as a “dashing young naval officer” who went on to become a “palace moderniser”.

She said: “He was a man that was born before the discovery of penicillin, before the creation of the United Nations or the invention of the television or the jet engine.

“But a moderniser he was in life, as well as in work. How many men in the 1950s gave up their job for their wife’s career?”

She also recalled how he had once asked former Scottish Tory leader Annabel Goldie about her underwear, at an event in Holyrood held to mark Pope Benedict’s visit to Scotland.

Davidson said: “Seeing Iain Gray [former Scottish Labour leader] sporting a tie in the papal tartan, the Duke turned to Tory leader Annabel Goldie to ask if she had a pair of knickers made out of this.

“Quite properly, Annabel retorted, ‘I couldn’t possibly comment, and even if I did I couldn’t possibly exhibit them’.”

Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar said he’d “never had the privilege” of meeting Prince Philip, so didn’t have a personal anecdote to share.

However he retold the story of a man called Jon Watts, who was jailed at the age of 17.

Sarwar said: “Jon recalled ‘there was lots of alcohol and no aspirations for people like me’, is what he said.

“But while in prison he came across the Duke of Edinburgh’s award, which he said gave him a new sense of direction.

“He camped out for his first award not on a Scottish mountainside, but in a tent on the artificial grass of a prison football pitch.

“Jon went on to get the bronze, silver and gold award while serving a six-year sentence.

“The skill he learned during the programme was cooking, and upon leaving prison he set up his very own catering business, now helping other young people to learn new skills and find jobs. ‘It saved my life’, Jon said last week.

“That’s just one life that the Prince helped save; there will be countless others from different walks of life.”

WPA POOL/POOL via Getty Images
Edinburgh: Members of the 105th Regiment Royal Artillery fire a 41-round gun salute.

Patrick Harvie, co-leader of the Scottish Greens, also paid tribute despite the party wishing for an elected head of state.

Highlighting all the lives lost during the coronavirus pandemic, he added: “Today is a moment to extend our thoughts to Prince Philip’s family and to all those who are grieving for their loved ones in a spirit of respect for the equal value of every human life.”

Scottish Lib Dems leader Willie Rennie recalled a meeting in which Prince Philip asked him about a “little blue man” badge he used to wear.

He said: “The Duke of Edinburgh spotted it at a reception. He bounced up, demanding to know what it was. ‘To show support for the prostate cancer campaign’, I said.

“He looked at me closely. He says, ‘have you got it or are you against it?’ Then he bounced off again.

“The engagement was only 30 seconds long, but it has stayed with me and to be retold numerous times over the years.

“It seems that he left lasting impressions with so many others too. Some less repeatable than others, but so many were fun and memorable.”

UK Government refers Holyrood Bills to Supreme Court

Nicola Sturgeon has described as ‘repugnant’ the UK’s Government’s decision to challenge legislation passed in the Scottish Parliament.

Jeff Mitchell/PA via PA Wire
The UK Government has insisted the referral was not due to the substance of the Bills.

The UK Government has referred two Bills passed unanimously by the Scottish Parliament to the Supreme Court over concerns it is outwith Holyrood’s powers.

The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (Incorporation) (Scotland) Bill and the European Charter of Local Self-Government (Incorporation) (Scotland) Bill were passed in the weeks leading up to the parliamentary recess.

The UK Government has insisted the referral was not due to the substance of the Bills, but because of technical aspects which may place legal duties on UK Ministers, but Nicola Sturgeon has described the move as “morally repugnant”.

Before the passage of the Bill, Scottish secretary Alister Jack wrote to the Deputy First Minister to ask for changes to be made to the children’s Bill, which was proposed by the Scottish Government.

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No changes were made to the Bill, which aims to ensure no public body in Scotland can infringe upon the rights laid out in the charter, leading to its referral to the Supreme Court on Monday.

A spokeswoman for the UK Government said: “UK Government Law Officers have today referred two Bills from the Scottish Parliament to the Supreme Court under Section 33 of the Scotland Act 1998.

“The UK Government Law Officers’ concerns are not about the substance of the legislation, rather whether parts are outwith the legislative competence of the Scottish Parliament.”

In a letter after the passage of the Bill, the Scottish Secretary said there were concerns it would place legal obligations on UK Ministers in reserved areas.

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Similar issues were expressed with the local government Bill, which was proposed by independent MSP Andy Wightman.

As the news broke, Sturgeon attacked the move, taking to Twitter to say: “Jaw-dropping. The UK Tory government is going to Court to challenge a law passed by the Scottish Parliament unanimously.

“And for what? To protect their ability to legislate/act in ways that breach children’s rights in Scotland.

“Politically catastrophic, but also morally repugnant.”

Deputy First Minister John Swinney also promised to fight the challenge, which he sought to paint as an attack on the rights of children.

“Not a single voice in the Parliament was raised against the Bill. It passed unanimously,” he said.

“And, crucially, it has been certified independently by the Presiding Officer as being within the powers of the Scottish Parliament.

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“Now, the Tory Westminster Government is trying to veto those rights. That is not just morally repugnant but it is also deeply menacing.

“The only people who need fear this Bill are people who want to breach children’s rights.

“The only people who want to block this Bill are people who know they are already breaking those rights.

“So, if the Tories want to target the rights of Scottish children, then they can expect to see us in court.”

Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar said: “The Conservatives are bereft of compassion and have completely lost their way.

“At this time of national crisis, we should be pulling together to build a fairer Scotland, not playing petty political games.

“Scotland deserves a better opposition.”

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie said: “This is petty and spiteful politics from the Conservatives.

“When the best thing they have to offer is a legal assault on children’s rights, you know you are looking at a party who are dead in the water.

“While Douglas Ross’s moral compass spins wildly, Scottish Liberal Democrats will get on with setting out a positive future for Scotland at the heart of the U.K. and putting the recovery first.”

Scottish pubs ‘disadvantaged’ as England’s lockdown eases

The Scottish Government will decide next week if restrictions will be lifted here on April 26.

Alexander Hassenstein via Getty Images
On April 10, government ministers will review the current plans to ease Scotland's restrictions on April 26.

Pubs in Scotland must wait another two weeks to reopen as beer gardens across England began serving up drinks again on Monday.

If Scottish hospitality does open up on April 26, it will be under curfew restrictions – something that the industry called “simply unfair”.

Don Lawson, of Johnny Foxes, told STV News: “I’m delighted for our neighbours over the border. It does beg the question why is it not happening in Scotland today.

“I’m envious because they don’t have any curfew restrictions like when we open in two weeks time it’s a 10 o’clock curfew, and then going forward to the May 17, it’s a 10.30pm curfew.”

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The Scottish Government will decide next week if restrictions will be lifted here on April 26.

No further coronavirus deaths were reported on Monday, with 199 new cases were confirmed.

While cases are often lower following a weekend, the figure is the smallest number of new cases since 70 were recorded on September 14.

The Scottish Beer and Pub Association (SBPA) said the industry relies on trading in the evening and said there is still no indication of when normal licensing hours will return.

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Emma McClarkin, SBPA chief executive, said: “Once again Scotland’s pubs and bars will be at a competitive disadvantage to those in England.

“The current arrangement is simply unfair to the licensed trade and the thousands of employees who work in the sector.”

On April 10, government ministers will review the current plans to ease Scotland’s restrictions on April 26.

Mr Lawson said: “I do look forward to two weeks today. People have missed the pub and we and my team here have missed the people.”


Man arrested after blaze rips through community centre

Emergency services were called to a charity-run eco village in Findhorn in the early hours of Monday morning.

BrIan Smith via Jasperimage
Blaze: Extensive damage to community centre following fire.

A man has been arrested after a fire ripped through a community centre in Moray. 

Emergency services were called to The Park, an ecovillage run by the Findhorn Foundation, in the early hours of Monday morning following reports of a fire.

Six appliances were sent to the scene alongside specialist resources in order to extinguish the blaze.

Police have confirmed a 49-year-old man has been arrested in connection with the incident.

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A Scottish Fire and Rescue Service spokesperson said: “We were alerted at 2am on Monday, April 12 to reports of a fire within the Findhorn Foundation Park, Findhorn, Forres, Moray.

“Operations Control mobilised six fire appliances as well as specialist resources to the scene to extinguish the fire.

“There were no reported casualties.

“Firefighters left after ensuring the area was safe.”

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The foundation said “extensive damage” has been caused to the community centre and main sanctuary at the eco village.

In a statement on Facebook, Findhorn Foundation said: “We’re so sad to tell you that there was a serious fire here in the early hours of the morning, causing extensive damage to the community centre and the main sanctuary. 

“Thankfully no-one has been hurt.”

A Police Scotland spokesperson said: “We were called around 2.05am on Monday, 12 April to a report of a fire at a community centre in The Park, Findhorn, Moray. 

“A 49-year-old man has been arrested in connection with the incident and enquiries are ongoing to establish the full circumstances.”


Old Firm moved to Sunday to avoid clash with Duke’s funeral

The Scottish FA has changed all fixtures scheduled for the date.

Alan Harvey via SNS Group
The Scottish Cup Fourth Round fixtures have been rescheduled.

The Old Firm game will kick-off at 3pm on Sunday after the Rangers and Celtic match was rescheduled to avoid clashing with Duke of Edinburgh’s funeral.

The Scottish Football Association said the change of plans was made following the announcement that Prince Philip’s funeral will take place at 3pm on Saturday, April 17.

All the Scottish Cup Fourth Round fixtures scheduled for the date have been changed.

Rangers versus Celtic was due to kick-off at 4pm on Saturday.

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St. Mirren versus Inverness Caledonian and Motherwell versus Greenock Morton will be played on Friday night.

Kilmarnock versus Montrose will kick-off at 11.45am on Saturday, to ensure any extra time and penalties do not overlap with the Duke of Edinburgh’s funeral ceremony.

A Scottish FA spokesperson said: “In cognisance of the funeral ceremony of HRH Prince Philip this Saturday, April 17, the Scottish FA can now confirm revised kick-off times for the weekend’s Scottish Cup fourth-round ties.

“These amendments have been made in consultation with broadcast partners, relevant government officials, Police Scotland and participating clubs.”

Car crashes through shopfront in town’s main street

There were no injuries reported following the incident.

Police Scotland
The vehicle collided with the front of the Posthorn 90 on High Street, Annan.

A car has crashed into a gift and jewellery shop in Dumfries and Galloway.

The vehicle collided with the front of the Posthorn 90 on High Street, Annan, around 3.25pm on Monday.

There were no injuries reported following the incident.

A Police Scotland spokesperson said: “Around 3.25pm on Monday, 12 April, we received a report that a vehicle had struck a shop front in Annan High Street.

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“Emergency services are in attendance.”


Many Scots pessimistic over summer holiday travel hopes

Concerns over isolation and possible resort restrictions were given as the key reasons to choose a staycation over a foreign trip.

STV News

Many Scots remain unconvinced that they will be able to book a holiday abroad this year.

STV News spoke to people around Aberdeen city centre on Monday to find out if they are confident planning a break in the sun later this year.

Concerns over the requirement to isolate on return and possible resort restrictions were given as the key reasons to choose a staycation over a foreign trip.

UK transport secretary Grant Shapps said that those in England “could start to think” about booking overseas travel as restrictions eased across the country.

However, the Scottish Government said “where possible” it will look to adopt a four-nation approach, but the position in Scotland “remains that it’s not permitted to travel abroad without an essential reason”.

William pays tribute to ‘extraordinary’ grandfather Philip

The Duke of Cambridge says Philip's life was defined by service to country, Commonwealth, Queen and family.

Duchess of Cambridge via Kensington Palace
Prince Philip with his great-grandson Prince George.

The Duke of Cambridge has paid a heartfelt tribute to his grandfather, the Duke of Edinburgh, describing him as an “extraordinary man and part of an extraordinary generation”.

William’s statement spoke of Philip’s relationship with Kate and expressed his gratitude for the “kindness he showed her”.

The future king summed up the duke saying his “…life was defined by service – to his country and Commonwealth, to his wife and Queen, and to our family”.

Over the weekend the duke’s four children spoke movingly about the loss of their father and how the Queen is stoically coping after her husband of 73 years died peacefully on Friday.

Phil Walter / Staff via Getty Images
Prince Harry, Prince Phillip and Prince William in 2015.
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The duke said about Philip: “My grandfather’s century of life was defined by service – to his country and Commonwealth, to his wife and Queen, and to our family.

“I feel lucky to have not just had his example to guide me, but his enduring presence well into my own adult life – both through good times and the hardest days.

“I will always be grateful that my wife had so many years to get to know my grandfather and for the kindness he showed her.

“I will never take for granted the special memories my children will always have of their great-grandpa coming to collect them in his carriage and seeing for themselves his infectious sense of adventure as well as his mischievous sense of humour!

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“My grandfather was an extraordinary man and part of an extraordinary generation. Catherine and I will continue to do what he would have wanted and will support The Queen in the years ahead. I will miss my Grandpa, but I know he would want us to get on with the job.”

Kensington Palace tweeted the duke’s statement together with a touching new photograph of a young Prince George with his great-grandfather Philip.

George, a future King, was pictured sat by the duke’s side on the box seat of a carriage, as Philip held the reins and a whip.

Dressed in shorts and a knitted jumper, George is holding open a picture book in the taken in Norfolk in 2015.

The Duke of Sussex also paid tribute to his grandfather, saying he was “a man of service, honour and great humour”.

In a statement issued through his foundation Archewell, Prince Harry said: “My grandfather was a man of service, honour and great humour. He was authentically himself, with a seriously sharp wit, and could hold the attention of any room due to his charm—and also because you never knew what he might say next.

“He will be remembered as the longest reigning consort to the Monarch, a decorated serviceman, a Prince and a Duke. But to me, like many of you who have lost a loved one or grandparent over the pain of this past year, he was my grandpa: master of the barbecue, legend of banter, and cheeky right ‘til the end.

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“He has been a rock for Her Majesty The Queen with unparalleled devotion, by her side for 73 years of marriage, and while I could go on, I know that right now he would say to all of us, beer in hand, ‘Oh do get on with it!’

“So, on that note, Grandpa, thank you for your service, your dedication to Granny, and for always being yourself. You will be sorely missed, but always remembered—by the nation and the world. Meghan, Archie, and I (as well as your future great-granddaughter) will always hold a special place for you in our hearts.

“‘Per Mare, Per Terram.’”

Woman dead after crash between cyclist and van

The road was closed for approximately nine hours for collision investigations to be carried out at the scene.

Andrew Milligan/PA via PA Wire
The driver and passenger from the van were both uninjured (Andrew Milligan/PA)

A cyclist has died after a crash with a van in Dumfries.

The incident happened at around 1.05pm on Sunday on the A710 near Southwick.

A white Peugeot van travelling eastwards was involved in a crash with a cyclist riding a black Trek bicycle which was heading east at Southwick Bridge.

Emergency services attended and 44-year-old Helen Renton from Dumfries was pronounced dead at the scene.

Police Scotland
44-year-old Helen Renton from Dumfries was pronounced dead at the scene (Police Scotland)
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Her next of kin has been informed.

Sergeant Leigh McCulloch from Police Scotland’s road policing unit based in Lockerbie said: “Tragically as a result of this crash the cyclist has lost her life and our thoughts at this time are with her family and friends.

“Several people stopped to help at the scene and our inquiries continue to establish what happened.

“I’d ask anyone who saw the crash to get in touch with officers as a priority to help our investigation.

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“I’d ask anyone who was recording with dashcam on the A710 who may have captured either the van or bicycle prior to the crash, to check their systems and provide officers with any relevant footage as soon as possible.”

The driver and passenger from the van were both uninjured.

The road was closed for approximately nine hours for collision investigations at the scene.


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