8.30pm: Blue light tribute during clap for our carers
The nation has once again come together to thank the NHS workers fighting coronavirus.
Now in its third week, the clap for our carers campaign continues to recognise key workers and all those working on the frontline battling to stop the spread of Covid-19.
At 8pm on Thursday, people across the UK showed their appreciation for health staff by cheering and applauding into the streets.
Police Scotland joined forces with the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service and Scottish Ambulance Service to hold a special blue light tribute.
7.20pm: Prime Minister out of intensive care
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has been moved out of intensive care, Downing Street has confirmed.
On Thursday night, a spokesperson said: “The Prime Minister has been moved this evening from intensive care back to the ward, where he will receive close monitoring during the early phase of his recovery.
“He is in extremely good spirits.”
6pm: North Air agrees to furlough workers on full pay
Unite Scotland has welcomed the decision by North Air based in Aberdeen to furlough employees during the Covid-19 crisis on full pay.
North Air is a fuel tanker company for aircrafts based at Aberdeen Airport.
The decision to furlough 27 workers in line with the UK Government’s Job Retention Scheme follows Unite securing a trade union recognition agreement with the company earlier this year.
Unite regional officer, Shauna Wright, said: “Unite the Union are delighted that North Air have agreed to utilise the government retention scheme and top up the salary to 100% for the workforce in Aberdeen.
“This is a welcome offer from the company and shows that North Air as an employer values their staff group during these difficult times.
“Unite earlier this year signed a recognition agreement with North Air and this is a testament to good working relationships at a local level.
“We hope that this shows all employers that doing the right thing at the right time is the way forward.”
5.30pm: Lawyer to scrutinise police use of emergency powers
A leading human rights lawyer has been appointed to scrutinise Police Scotland’s use of emergency powers during the coronavirus crisis.
John Scott QC will be the chairman of an independent group examining how police are using the new powers granted by emergency legislation.
Officers now have the ability to fine or arrest those suspected of breaching lockdown rules.
Mr Scott is a solicitor advocate with more than 30 years’ experience in the legal profession. He was involved in the Lockerbie case appeal and previously led the Scottish Human Rights Centre.
He is also the chairman of a review into mental health legislation.
Chief constable Iain Livingstone invited him to take on the new role, following consultation with justice secretary Humza Yousaf.
5pm: Death toll continues to rise
A total of 7978 patients have died in hospital after testing positive for coronavirus in the UK as of 5pm on Wednesday, Dominic Raab has said, up by 881 from 7097 the day before.
On the possibility of easing the lockdown, the foreign secretary said: “We are not done yet. We must keep going.”
He added: “It’s been almost three weeks and we’re starting to see the impact of the sacrifices we’ve all made.
“But the deaths are still rising and we haven’t yet reached the peak of the virus. So it’s still too early to lift the measures that we put in place.
“We must stick to the plan and we must continue to be guided by the science.”
Speaking at the Downing Street daily briefing, he said Prime Minister Boris Johnson “continues to make positive steps forward and he’s in good spirits”.
3.25pm: Sturgeon will consider allowing those who have lost loved ones to Covid-19 to be tested for the virus
Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard said testing relatives of people who have died from coronavirus could prevent them from “grieving alone”.
Speaking at First Minister’s Questions, Leonard said “compassionate testing” could also help patients receiving end-of-life care to enjoy the time they had left.
So far, facilities across Scotland have carried out more than 27,000 tests for coronavirus. Priority is being given to NHS frontline staff.
The First Minister said she would look at the issue “very carefully”.
2.59pm: Postal staff walkout as bosses fail to clean ill worker’s desk
Angry postal staff staged a walkout after bosses failed to clean the workstation of a worker who was hospitalised with coronavirus symptoms.
Staff at a Royal Mail sorting office in Greenock, Inverclyde, raised their grievances after a worker fell ill in work between last Thursday and Saturday and was subsequently hospitalised.
A source said despite colleagues expressing their worries about the employee’s health, nothing was done by management and the worker continued to handle hundreds of parcels to be delivered.
Workers arrived at the sorting office on Monday morning to find out that their colleague had been admitted to hospital, yet they were expected to carry on as normal.
They immediately walked out while representatives from the Communication Workers Union (CWU) met with bosses.
A Royal Mail spokesman said: “There was a disruption to service on Monday morning at Inverclyde delivery office.
“We are working with our people to resolve any areas of concern.
“A deep clean of the office is taking place today.
“Royal Mail takes the health and safety of its colleagues, its customers and the local communities in which we operate very seriously.”
2.20pm: Priority supermarket delivery slots for vulnerable Scots to be in place next week
Nicola Sturgeon said about 4200 packages of food and essential items have been delivered free of charge to “shielded” people unable to leave their home at all during the coronavirus pandemic.
She added that the 136,000 people across the country identified as most vulnerable by medics have all been contacted offering help to get medicine and – if requested – free food deliveries.
Of those, 21,000 have registered for the support service, Sturgeon said.
In addition to the offer of food deliveries through the Scottish Government’s contracts with suppliers Brakes and Bidfood, those in the shielded group will soon be able to ask for their details to be passed on to supermarkets who will offer priority delivery services.
2.09pm: Sturgeon: Scotland faces ‘mental health legacy’ from coronavirus
Scotland will be left dealing with a “mental health legacy” of coronavirus once the virus has been quelled, the First Minister has said.
Taking part in the first ever virtual meeting in the history of the Scottish Parliament, Nicola Sturgeon said the effects of isolation necessitated by the outbreak will be felt long after it is over.
In response to a question from Lib Dem leader Willie Rennie, the First Minister said funding had been made available to allow for the expansion of counselling services, including the creation of virtual cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) sessions.
She said: “Not just in the immediate phase of dealing with this, but I suspect for a long time afterwards, we’re going to be dealing with a mental health legacy of it.
“We have to make sure that the services that provide the help that people need are there and that means expanding access to counselling now, but looking ahead to make sure that these services are appropriate in the future as well.”
1.50pm: New PPE advice for care workers following union anger
New guidance has been issued on what personal protective equipment (PPE) Scottish care workers should wear, following concern from trade unions.
The Scottish Government has agreed with unions and local authorities that the UK-wide guidance on PPE is “official and fully comprehensive”.
Unions had criticised supplementary guidance issued by Scotland’s chief nursing officer Fiona McQueen regarding the use of face masks for care workers looking after patients not suspected of having Covid-19 symptoms.
1.22pm: PM continues to improve after ‘good night’ in intensive care
Boris Johnson’s condition “continues to improve” in intensive care where he has spent three nights while being treated for the coronavirus, Downing Street has said.
The Prime Minister had a “good night” in St Thomas’ Hospital in London and thanks the NHS for the “brilliant care” he has received, his official spokesman said on Thursday.
12.55pm: Coronavirus claims 81 more lives as death toll rises to 447
The coronavirus death toll in Scotland has risen to 447, the First Minister has confirmed.
Nicola Sturgeon said 81 more deaths had been recorded since yesterday.
Before a ‘virtual’ session of First Minister’s Questions, she said 4957 cases of Covid-19 had been confirmed in Scotland.
Sturgeon stressed as usual that the figure was an “underestimate”.
A total of 1781 coronavirus confirmed or suspected patients were in hospital as of 9am on Thursday, with 212 in intensive care.
12.27pm: Scottish coronavirus facilities have tested 5,000 people
Coronavirus testing facilities across Scotland have already tested 5,000 people.
This includes a new facility at Glasgow Airport, which opened in a long-stay car park on Sunday, and will prioritise testing NHS frontline staff.
The Glasgow drive-through facility is by invitation only, for those who are priority testing.
Professor Jason Leitch, the Scottish Government’s national clinical director, told BBC Radio Scotland: “We’ve now tested 5,000 health and social care workers across the country, partly using work you’ll have seen on the TV, and places in Fife and Tayside.
“It’s part of the UK approach to testing but we’re responsible for who gets in and out of that service. So, we take priority people and put them through that first, and as that expands we’ll be able to increase that list.”
12.16pm: Sturgeon not expecting COBRA to propose easing lockdown measures
Nicola Sturgeon has said she is not expecting the Cobra committee to propose any easing of the coronavirus lockdown measures, ahead of Thursday’s meeting.
The emergency meeting, featuring the leaders of the devolved governments, will be chaired by Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab after the Prime Minister spent another night in hospital suffering from Covid-19.
The First Minister told Sky News the meeting is expected to discuss the current coronavirus situation and there is little chance lockdown measures will be changed.
She said: “I agree with Mark Drakeford, the First Minister of Wales; I don’t think there is any possibility, any likelihood, of these lockdown measures being lifted immediately, or even imminently.”
12.10pm: Former justice secretary calls for prisoner releases to fight virus
Former justice secretary Kenny MacAskill has called for the Scottish Government to set up a prisoner release programme to tackle coronavirus.
Writing in the Scotsman, MacAskill said the state has a duty of care to inmates in its prisons, which are “geared toward hothousing the virus, rather than shielding the prisoner from infection”.
Last week, MSPs passed the Scottish Government’s emergency Coronavirus (Scotland) Bill which put in place provisions to allow prisoners to be released should the prison estate become overwhelmed.
Under the new law, only those convicted of sexual or terror offences or someone who poses a threat to an identified person will be exempt from release
12.04pm: Residents dead in coronavirus outbreak at third Scottish care home
A third Scottish care home has experienced a deadly Covid-19 outbreak, with nine elderly residents reportedly dying from the virus.
Staff at Tranent Care Home in East Lothian, which cares for people with dementia, are currently trying to manage the outbreak.
It follows other outbreaks at Castle View care home in Dumbarton, West Dunbartonshire, where eight residents died after showing coronavirus symptoms, and Burlington care home in North Lanarkshire, where 13 died.
11.48am: Uni cafeteria delivers van load of stock to local food bank
A cafeteria at Edinburgh Napier University has delivered a van load of leftover stock to a local foodbank.
Enjoy at Edinburgh Napier in Sighthill sent the food to the bank at South Leith Parish Church on Tuesday.
A Facebook post from Enjoy said: “In times like these we know how important is to pull together and help each other out.
“We loaded up a van and delivered our leftover stock from Sighthill to the food bank at South Leith Parish Church!
“A huge thank you to Rev. Iain May for all the work the church is doing to help those in need in the local community.”
10.48am: Scottish Building Society staff support Alzheimer Scotland helpline
Scottish Building Society has partnered with Alzheimer Scotland’s free 24-hour hotline to help those living with dementia and their families during lockdown.
Staff at SBS are supporting the charity’s volunteers by providing specialist advice on questions around finances, such as mortgages and savings.
With families in self-isolation, the charity have had to increase capacity on this critical lifeline.
They reached out to SBS to ask if staff could volunteer their expertise for the helpline.
Paul Denton, SBS Chief Executive, said: “It is critical at this time that those living with dementia and their partners, carers and friends know that they are not alone.
“Alzheimer Scotland provides a vital lifeline at these difficult times and everyone at the Society feels privileged to support such an essential charity.”
10.41am: Foodbanks across Scotland benefit from ScotRail stock donation
People in need across Scotland have benefitted from donations from ScotRail staff.
ScotRail’s hospitality teams have donated food and drink stock to charities operating foodbanks in Glasgow, Edinburgh Aberdeen and Inverness.
The train operator has temporarily withdrawn all on-board hospitality services from its trains, resulting in a surplus in short dated food and drink such as soft drinks, snack boxes and confectionary.
Help for the Homeless Glasgow and Church of Scotland’s Edinburgh North East and Leith foodbank are among the charities who received donations.
10.40am: Charity provides emergency supply packs to ‘sick kids’ hospital
An Edinburgh charity is providing emergency supply packs to support children and families in hospital through the COVID-19 pandemic.
Edinburgh Children’s Hospital Charity (ECHC) – which supports the Royal Hospital for Sick Children – has launched an emergency appeal to help families having to cope with the impact of the outbreak on top of the distress of having a sick or injured child.
The free emergency packs contain non-perishable food products and essential items including nappies, toilet roll, tinned soup, beans and tea bags so parents and carers do not have the additional stress of shopping for their families while their child is in hospital.
10.22am: Uni launches study to understand mental health implications of covid-19.
A leading university is launching a new study into the mental health and wellbeing effects of the COVID-19 pandemic in adults across the UK.
The University of Glasgow will work in partnership with Samaritans and SAMH for the project.
The study will aim to understand the impact of the pandemic, and the unprecedented social distancing measures introduced across the country, on mental health indicators such as anxiety, depression, loneliness, self-harm or positive mental wellbeing.
9.55am: Airbnb cancels all bookings in the UK for the next month
Short-stay rental giant Airbnb has cancelled all bookings in the UK for April and said properties would only be available to health care professionals and key workers.
It put the restrictions in place in response to government advice regarding the coronavirus pandemic and resulting lockdown.
Airbnb said in a statement: “In response to UK Government advice we have liaised with guests to cancel all leisure stays during April 2020 to ensure we limit the spread of coronavirus, protect our community and observe travel restrictions.
“During April we are happy to host healthcare professionals, or key workers connected to the coronavirus response who still need accommodation away from home during this difficult time.
9.16am: Doctor has only held his baby girl once as he self-isolates from family
In a bid to protect their families, some NHS workers have taken steps to isolate themselves outside of work.
Sending children to stay with grandparents, aunts and uncles is one step some NHS staff have chosen to take.
Other NHS workers have started living in hotels, hostels and other temporary accommodation as they care for coroanvirus patients.
One Glasgow GP described how he is still sharing a roof, but is isolating himself from his wife, son and newborn baby in order to protect them.
Sandesh Gulhane’s baby girl is just one week old but he has only held her once – after she was born by caesarean section in a sterile operating theatre.
He told PA that he wanted to do “everything” he possibly can to keep his family safe.
“I am basically socially distancing myself from my family,” Dr Gulhane said.
“I say hello, but I don’t hug my six-day-old child, my six-year-old son, I don’t go near my wife.
“I sleep in a separate room, I use a separate bathroom, I eat separately to them.”
He urged people to stay at home, adding: “I am sacrificing my family life and people can’t sacrifice having a BBQ.”
8.53am: Hearts to fight SPFL plans to relegate them to Championship
Premiership bottom club Hearts last night released a statement on SPFL plans to finish the season as it stands.
That would mean Hearts being relegated to the Championship, with Celtic being declared champions.
8.50am: What does the coronavirus data tell us?
The National Records of Scotland yesterday released detailed data on coronavirus deaths for the first time.
STV News’ online politics reporter Dan Vevers has analysed the numbers.
8.37am: Prime Minister spends third night in intensive care
Boris Johnson remains in intensive care, where he was taken on Monday night after his coronavirus symptoms worsensed.
He is said to be “responding well” to treatment and is sitting up and talking.
8.30am: Coronavirus claims life of first NHS worker in Scotland
STV News last night revealed the death of district nurse Janice Graham from Covid-19.
She’s the first NHS worker in Scotland to lose their life to the coronavirus.
Friends and colleagues have paid glowing tributes.
8.15am: Nicola Sturgeon to hold virtual FMQs.
Thursday is usually the day the First Minister fields questions at the Scottish Parliament from opposition leaders and MSPs.
Today, however, she’ll do it via video call as part of her daily briefing from St Andrew’s House.
8.00am: UK Government to consider lockdown extension
The UK Government’s emergency committee Cobra will meet today to discuss an extension to lockdown.
Politicians will review the restrictions based on scientific evidence about the spread of coronavirus.
Yesterday, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said ending lockdown early would be a “monumental mistake”
7.35am: Housing market ‘may need government intervention’
Government intervention may be needed to help revive the housing market after the coronavirus epidemic, according to the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS).
The RICS March 2020 Resident Market Survey shows a downward trend for all areas of the housing market across Scotland post Covid-19.
Simon Rubinsohn, RICS Chief Economist, said: “The feedback from the survey does imply that further government interventions both in the wider economy and more specifically in the housing market may be necessary.”
Housing Minister Kevin Stewart said: “We are committed to supporting the housing market and home-building industry and to achieving the earliest possible restart of housing construction, but only when it is safe to do so.”
7.23am: New poll warns that Scotland is facing a ‘cost of living crisis’
Scotland faces a “cost of living crisis” amid the coronavirus outbreak, a poll of more than 1,000 adults has found.
The tracking poll for Citizens Advice Scotland (CAS) found about a third (34%) of Scots were concerned about their ability to pay for food and other essentials.
7am: Dedicated dozen: Carers move in to keep coronavirus out
A dozen care home workers are spending 32 nights on lockdown alongside elderly residents in a desperate bid to prevent coronavirus.
St David’s Care Home owner Ivan Cornford, 58, decided the best way to protect residents was by blocking access to the outside world.
It was only possible thanks to 11 of his employees volunteering to live in the home — and sacrificing contact with their own families for the entire time.