Live: Coronavirus news updates from across Scotland

The country is on lockdown in an effort to stop the spread of the deadly virus.

Coronavirus: The battle to stop the spread of the deadly virus goes on. Pixabay
Coronavirus: The battle to stop the spread of the deadly virus goes on.

Impeccable applause for NHS staff

A national applause has taken place as people across Scotland showed their appreciation for NHS staff working hard during the coronavirus pandemic.

The gesture to those “working at the front line” kicked off at 8pm and saw grateful individuals and families gather at their front doors, gardens and windows to “clap for our carers”.

Death toll across the United Kingdom rises to 578

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A total of 578 people who have tested positive for coronavirus in the United Kingdom have died as of 5pm on Wednesday, the Department of Health said.

The figure represents a jump of 113 in a day.

As of 9am on Thursday, there have been 11,658 confirmed positive cases across the UK.

Health board suspends home births to protect families and staff

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NHS Lanarkshire has restricted neonatal visiting and suspended home births to protect families and staff from coronavirus.

The health board said it understands this is “an extremely difficult time” for pregnant woman but said it needs to make sure the maternity service is safe.

Cheryl Clark, chief midwife at NHS Lanarkshire said: “One birthing partner is very much welcome during labour.

“However, to help tackle the spread of COVID-19 and maintain a safe maternity service for all women and their families, NHS Lanarkshire has taken the difficult decision to further restrict neonatal visiting as well as suspend our homebirth service with immediate effect.

“We understand this is an extremely difficult time for all pregnant women and their families but we need ensure our maternity service is safe. Mums-to-be should discuss any concerns with their community midwife.

“We are asking pregnant women who are scheduled to attend for ultrasound scans, appointments in our maternity day bed unit, antenatal clinics and maternity triage to attend on their own.”

‘Clap for our carers’: Applause for NHS staff at 8pm

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A national applause is set to take place to show appreciation for NHS staff working hard during the coronavirus pandemic.

The gesture to those “working at the front line” will be made across the country at 8pm, with people due to gather at their front doors, gardens and windows to “clap for our carers”.

“During these unprecedented times they need to know that we are grateful,” the organisers said.

Government to pay self-employed 80% of earnings

Self-employed people whose jobs are impacted by the coronavirus outbreak will be eligible for a grant to cover 80% of their monthly profits up to £2500 a month.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak said the support package for self-employed people would cover 80% of average earnings over the past three years.

However, he warned the scheme may not be open for applications until early June.

We don’t have lift-off: Scotland’s National Airshow cancelled

Scotland’s National Airshow, which was due to take place in the summer, has been cancelled.

The event had been scheduled for Saturday, July 25, at the National Museum of Flight in East Lothian.

However, a move has been taken to scrap the airshow due to the outbreak of coronavirus.

A statement said: “This is in light of the advice and measures currently being implemented by the UK and Scottish Governments in response to the outbreak of Covid-19.

“Currently all of our museums are closed until further notice. This includes the National Museum of Scotland, the National Museum of Flight, the National Museum of Rural Life and the National War Museum at Edinburgh Castle.”

Former factory in Inverclyde offered as potential field hospital

The owners of a former factory are offering up the facility to be used as an NHS field hospital in the fight against coronavirus.

Sandy and James Easdale, as well as Seamus Shields, have put forward the vacant IBM site near Greenock for free to help during the pandemic.

The vacant 65,000sq ft building at Spango Valley has a canteen, toilet and office facilities in place together with a network of utilities.

It comes after Dr Catherine Calderwood, Scotland’s chief medical officer, revealed sites are being considered for such a facility.

The Easdales, owners of McGill’s Buses, said: “The NHS and the Scottish Government are looking at potential options for field hospitals in Scotland, similar to what is being facilitated at the Excel in London.

“We know there will be specific criteria required by the NHS but this is a vacant, large capacity building which is easily accessed in the west of Scotland.

“Contact has already been made with local politicians and Scottish Government regarding its availability and should it be required then we can make progress rapidly on its handover.”

Call for careful consideration of unplanned pregnancies

Couples have been asked to consider using contraception and whether the coronavirus epidemic is the right time to have an unplanned pregnancy.

The advice came from Scotland’s chief medical officer, Dr Catherine Calderwood, after First Minister Nicola Sturgeon was asked if the Scottish Government is expecting a rise in the number of pregnancies as a consequence of people being ordered not to leave their homes.

She passed the question to Dr Calderwood, who is a consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist.

Dr Calderwood said: “As the obstetrician in the room, this has occurred to me that in fact we do need to be advising people about having time on their hands.

“The labour ward is always much busier nine months after Valentine’s day so we have that to consider.

“The serious point is that almost all maternity services are emergency services – they can’t be time limited, you can’t pause like elective surgery.”

She added: “It has been suggested to me that we talk to people about contraception.

“About 50% of pregnancies are unplanned so perhaps think about whether this is the right time to have an unplanned pregnancy.

“This (coronavirus outbreak) will last for some time, the emergency services – the maternity services – will continue to run, though, so we have planned for all of the babies that would have been born to have exactly the same care that they would have had outside of this pandemic.

“But people are making difficult choices and we would always encourage people to think: ‘Is this the right time for me, am I in the best of health, is this a good time for me to start thinking about having a baby?'”

Medical staff book hundreds of nights at hotel

Medical staff have booked hundreds of nights at a hotel offering them free rooms and meals during the coronavirus pandemic.

Ten Place Hill Hotel in Edinburgh said since it launched the initiative on Friday more than 232 room nights have been booked to accommodate guests over the coming weeks.

The hotel, owned by The Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh (RCSEd) and operated by Surgeons Quarter, is less than a mile from the Royal Hospital for Sick Children and three miles from the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh.

It is urging more workers to make use of its 129 bedrooms and is now including a free evening meal as well as a continental packed breakfast.

RCSEd president Professor Michael Griffin praised the initiative.

He said: “Covid-19 is unlike anything we’ve seen in our lifetimes – and I know the strain it is putting across all aspects of our wonderful health service.

“The team at Ten Hill Place are giving tired workers vital respite to allow them to focus on caring for the country.”

Harry Potter author pays tribute to ‘frontline heroes’

JK Rowling, Geri Horner and Ant and Dec are among the celebrities who have spoken out to celebrate health workers, supermarket staff and other key workers during the coronavirus pandemic.

As large numbers of people continue to tackle the fallout from the virus, Harry Potter author Rowling shared a poignant message on Twitter.

She wrote that she was thinking of “medical staff, supermarket workers, the military and all public service employees putting themselves on the line for our communities”.

She added: “We can only aspire to deserve you. Stay safe, everyone x.”

Wind farm cash used to help communities

Communities across Scotland are using cash from wind farms to help them cope through the coronavirus crisis.

Wind farm developers across the country pay out almost £21m a year in community benefit payments.

This money usually goes to fund local projects but as the Covid-19 pandemic spreads across Scotland some of the cash is now being used as part of the response to the virus.

Foundation Scotland, the organisation that administers around 60 community benefit funds, has already held talks with community representatives on about 20 of those to see how the money can help.

In Lewis, community wind farm charity Point and Sandwick Trust has announced it will use all of its cash for this year to set up a pandemic support fund for the local community.

Community Energy Scotland, which co-owns a 7.5 megawatt wind farm near Cockburnspath with Berwickshire Housing Association, is now working with a newly established volunteer action group to provide emergency grants to local families in hardship.

Its development manager, Jamie Adam, said: “We have been humbled by the reaction of local communities to the coronavirus emergency and are delighted to be able to help, if only in a small way.”

Airline further reduces flight schedules

Loganair has announced further reductions in its flight schedules over the coming weeks, consistent with the Government’s efforts to contain the spread of the Covid-19 virus.

A skeleton schedule of essential air services will operate within Scotland, to and from the Isle of Man and on two routes supporting critical workers in the offshore industry in Aberdeen.

The services provided will be to facilitate travel only for those with an essential need, such as workers in designated critical professions and others covered by the latest Government advice. 

Efforts are also in hand to protect essential carriage of pharmaceuticals, mail, newspapers and other consumer goods which are reliant on Loganair’s services in the Highlands and Islands as a matter of course.

Loganair expects to ground approximately half of its 44 aircraft in the coming days and has advised its staff of the probability of furlough under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

Loganair’s chief executive Jonathan Hinkles said: “The challenges that we’re all facing in everyday life are evolving by the day, and we are having to work through a whole host of disparate issues to maintain services for those with a critical need to travel, or indeed the many island communities totally reliant on Loganair to deliver their daily essentials.

“I’m proud of the work that so many of our team are doing right now to keep vital air routes open, without which our communities would be in severe difficulty.

“The tremendous team spirit in evidence throughout Loganair is providing all of us with confidence to tackle the challenges that undoubtedly lay ahead.

“Throughout all of this, safety will remain our absolute priority – whether that of our staff or our customers, or indeed the daily focus to assure that each and every Loganair flight is conducted safely.”

Hotel resort closes its doors

Mar Hall Golf & Spa Resort in Renfrewshire has temporarily closed for the “wellbeing of all”.

A spokesperson said staff had “worked tirelessly” over the last few weeks to keep the resort open, however “there comes a time when you can do no more”.

Mar Hall Golf & Spa Resort: The five-star hotel has closed.

In a statement, the company said: “The current situation is unprecedented. 

“As purveyors of great Scottish hospitality it grieves us greatly to do so, but needs must. 

“The wellbeing of all should be our only collective concern. 

“When we open again, and open we shall, you can be sure we will rise greater than ever before. 

“We look forward to those times and to welcoming you back to Mar Hall.”

Scots ‘are following’ stay-at-home guidance

Police Scotland’s chief constable has said the vast majority of people are obeying coronavirus guidance to stay at home.

Iain Livingstone hopes new powers to arrest people flouting the rules will be used “very, very infrequently, if at all”.

He said Police Scotland officers have seen “overwhelming levels of compliance” from the public since lockdown measures were introduced.

Emergency legislation has been passed to give police the power to arrest those breaching coronavirus guidance, which states people should only leave home for essential food, health and work reasons.

Mr Livingstone said most people were heeding the advice, despite a few cases of “extreme” behaviour, such as a woman accused of deliberately coughing at police officers.

Asked by Nick Robinson on BBC Radio Four whether people are defying the guidance aimed at slowing the spread of Covid-19, Mr Livingstone said: “No they’re not.

“In the first couple of days since the announcement on Monday night, we have seen overwhelming levels of compliance.

“We have seen citizens of Scotland, indeed right across the UK, standing up, listening to that advice.”

Coronavirus field hospital lined up for Scotland

Detailed discussions have taken place about setting up a field hospital in Scotland to cope with the increasing number of coronavirus patients.

Dr Catherine Calderwood, Scotland’s chief medical officer, revealed sites are being considered for such a facility.

It comes as the NHS in London plans to use the ExCeL Centre to treat up to 4000 people.

Football chairman’s hotel rooms gesture

Peterhead Football Club chairman Rodger Morrison is offering free accommodation at his county inn to NHS staff travelling to and from Aberdeen’s main hospital.

The Cock and Bull in Balmedie has five bed and breakfast rooms which he’s opened up to those travelling to work at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary (ARI) during the coronavirus pandemic.

CalMac brings in ‘essential lifeline’ timetable

Ferry operator CalMac will introduce an ‘essential lifeline’ timetable from Friday.

Initially for three weeks, it aims to ensure Scotland’s islands get all the goods and services they need.

CalMac’s number of weekly sailings will drop from 2419 to 948 – a decrease of almost 61%.

Medical chief defends Charles getting a virus test

Scotland’s Chief Medical Officer has defended the decision to test the Princes of Wales for coronavirus, saying there were “very good reasons” behind the move.

Dr Catherine Calderwood spoke after news that the heir to the throne had been tested for Covid-19 sparked an angry backlash from some.

While some medical workers who are self-isolating have been unable to get tested to see if they could come back to work, both Charles, 71, and his wife Camilla, 72, were tested on Monday.

The royal couple are currently staying at the Birkhall estate in Aberdeenshire, with Camilla separating herself from her husband after she tested negative.

Speaking about Charles on BBC Radio Scotland’s Good Morning Scotland programme, Dr Calderwood said: “I have spoken to the team in Grampian who were looking after the individual.

“My understanding is there were very good reasons for that person and his wife to be tested, and obviously I wouldn’t be able to disclose anything else that I know because of patient confidentiality.”

Compston’s race back to the States

Scots star Martin Compston has revealed he raced back to the US shortly before travel was banned.

The Line of Duty actor lives in Las Vegas, where his wife and her family are from, but was filming in the UK before the lockdown.

“I was just in my flat on a Saturday night, learning my lines for the week ahead,” he said.

“The news came through that Trump had suspended all flights from the UK, so I think within 12 hours I was on a flight.

“So, I just made it back by the skin of my teeth. It was bit of a hairy journey over… but eventually they got us home.”

He told the STV show that Scotland would always be “home”, but added: “I’ve spent probably 14 of the last 16 months on the road and you realise how important it is to have a support network around you.

“It was important that my wife had a family around her – and the weather’s not bad either!”

NCP offers free parking

NCP is offering free parking to workers in city centres across the UK.

A full list of the 150 car parks taking part in the scheme can be found here.

‘Sunday service’ bus timetable for Glasgow

Bus company First Glasgow is bringing in a reduced timetable from Sunday.

The firm said would operate a “broadly Sunday timetable”, but with extra morning services for key workers.

Andrew Jarvis, managing director of First Glasgow, said: “I would like to personally thank everyone at First Glasgow who have been absolutely fantastic at keeping the wheels turning for the people of Glasgow.

“Regular customers can be assured we will endeavour to get more frequent services back up and running as soon as the government decides it is safe to do so.”

Travel firm donates £250,000 of compression socks to nurses

A travel firm is donating equipment worth £250,000 to help nurses dealing with the coronavirus outbreak.

Online company Trtl is handing over its stockpile of compression socks to help nurses fight fatigue on the wards.

A total of 5000 pairs have been given to acute nurses in hospitals across Scotland in the past two weeks and the firm plans to distribute 5000 more in London in the next week.

Trtl’s sales have fallen 95% in the past two weeks and chief executive officer Michael Corrigan said he wants to help those on the frontline by donating the surplus socks.

The Caledonian hotel closes its doors

The Waldorf Astoria Edinburgh – The Caledonian has closed its doors for the first time since 1903.

The luxury hotel will remain closed until April 24.

Luxury: The hotel has closed its doors. Waldorf Astoria Edinburgh – The Caledonian

In a statement posted on Facebook, the company said: “It is with heaviness of heart that we announce in response the UK Government’s guidelines, that we have temporarily suspended operation of our hotel until April 24th.

“This is certainly not a goodbye, our team will continue to plan for the rest of the year and are committed to fully restoring operation of our iconic hotel as soon as possible.”

Flights from 11 airports to be grounded

Flights from 11 airports across Scotland will be grounded this weekend amid the coronavirus pandemic.

On Thursday morning, Highlands and Islands Airports Limited (Hial) confirmed it would remain open for lifeline and essential services, however bosses were forced to make the “difficult, but necessary, decision” to close its airports to scheduled flights and routine aviation traffic with effect from Sunday.

Hial – which is owned by the Scottish Government – operates and manages Barra, Benbecula, Campbeltown, Dundee, Inverness, Islay, Kirkwall, Stornoway, Sumburgh, Tiree and Wick John O’ Groats airports.

The company said it was doing “all it can to limit the spread of infection, protect the health and wellbeing of its staff and have the necessary resilience in place to maintain its ability to service essential and emergency flights”.

Hial is now working with Transport Scotland and Loganair to agree a skeleton schedule that will ensure the airports continue to provide lifeline and essential services, including NHS passenger transfer, the Royal Mail and the oil and gas industry.

Government orders 10,000 ventilators from Dyson

The Government has ordered 10,000 ventilators to help tackle the coronavirus pandemic, billionaire entrepreneur Sir James Dyson has said.

In an email to staff, the inventor said his eponymous company designed the “CoVent” at the request of Boris Johnson, and promised to donate 5000 to the international relief effort.

Sir James said teams of engineers had been working solidly on the design since receiving the call from the Prime Minister ten days ago, and the UK Government had placed an initial order of 10,000 units.

The company is now waiting for the design to receive regulatory approval so manufacturing can commence.

Dyson: The battery-powered machine has been designed for use un different settings.

Created in partnership with Cambridge-based science engineering firm TTP, the new ventilator had to be safe, effective, efficient in conserving oxygen and portable, Mr Dyson said.

It also had to be bed-mounted, easy to use and not require a fixed air supply.

The battery-powered machine has been designed for use in different settings, including field hospitals and when patients are being transported.

Sir James said the device draws on technology used in the company’s air purifier ranges, and is powered by a digital motor.

Rental prices ‘show housing market is deeply broken’

Signs of change in Scotland’s housing market and rental prices amid the Covid-19 outbreak show “how deeply broken” the system is, according to a tenants’ union.

Living Rent has reported holiday lets increasingly being put up as long-term rentals as tourism dries up during the pandemic – often at rates “significantly below” the market average.

And it has called for emergency measures to be introduced to protect tenants from rogue landlords who may seek to rent out properties without correct licensing.

‘I’ve never experienced anything like this

Edinburgh care home manager Eileen Gray explains what it’s like caring for people during the coronavirus pandemic.

She said: “I can safely say that I have never experienced anything like the Covid-19 crisis – both in terms of the challenges it presents and in the fantastic response it has produced.

“I don’t think I’ve ever seen such an amazing rallying round; everyone here is totally committed to getting through this together and to make sure that our residents’ lives are disrupted in as small a way as possible.”

The fight against coronavirus continues

People are expected to remain at home in an effort to stop the spread of coronavirus.

On Monday night, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced Britons should only go out for exercise once a day.

Gatherings of two of more people are banned, except for members of the same household. 

People should only go to the shops for essentials like food or medicine as infrequently as possible, and should not go out to see friends or family members who do not live in the same house.

Sturgeon: I must ask all of you again to make sacrifices

The First Minister warned Scots they 'simply cannot have 100% normality' in the global Covid pandemic.

The First Minister has asked the Scottish public “again to make sacrifices” to help halt the spread of coronavirus.

In a televised address to the country, Nicola Sturgeon said that we “simply cannot have 100% normality” in the face of the global Covid-19 pandemic.

It comes after she announced earlier that visiting or hosting people from other households in their homes will be banned across the country as cases surge throughout Scotland and the UK once more.

Pubs and restaurants will also have to close at 10pm every night from Friday, while employers should “rethink” bringing staff back into workplaces if they do not need to be there.

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Sturgeon announced the new measures earlier on Tuesday before MSPs, imploring people to “stick with this”.

She followed it up with a televised speech in the evening where she accepted the latest restrictions might feel like a “step backwards” – but insisted they “will make a difference”.

In addition to the ban on visiting others inside their homes and the 10pm hospitality curfew, people are also advised not to share car journeys with anyone from outside their household.

Regulations enforcing the changes will come into place from Friday, but Sturgeon urged Scots to comply from Wednesday.

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Prime Minister Boris Johnson also gave a televised address, telling the British public that common sense is the “single greatest weapon” in the effort to suppress coronavirus.

He said there were now “too many” breaches of the rules around Covid and warned the UK faces an “unquestionably difficult” winter.

But the PM made a plea for a “spirit of togetherness” and insisted the country has “great days ahead”.

Speaking after the Prime Minister, from Edinburgh, the First Minister said: “The last six months have been unprecedented.

“They’ve been the hardest many of us have ever lived through.

“But through our collective efforts across Scotland, we did beat Covid back.

“As a result – although too much heartbreak has been endured and too many families are grieving – many lives were also saved.

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“But as we enter winter, and with many lockdown restrictions now thankfully lifted, the challenge is once again getting harder.”

Sturgeon said the Scottish Government’s focus is on saving lives, keeping schools open, protecting public health and protecting jobs.

She continued: “It is to safeguard these priorities that I must ask all of you again to make sacrifice – sacrifices for our national wellbeing.

“They are not easy but please believe me when I say they are essential.

“We have decided that from Friday there will be a national curfew for pubs, bars and restaurants. They will have to close by 10pm to reduce the time people spend there.

“And from tomorrow, we are all being asked not to visit each other’s homes, because we know that is often how the virus spreads most easily from one household to another.

“There are exceptions – for care of the vulnerable, extended households, childcare and tradespeople – but generally, by staying out of other people’s houses for now, we give ourselves the best chance of bringing Covid back under control.”

“I will never find the words to thank all of you enough for the enormous sacrifices you have made so far and I am sorry to be asking for more.”

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon

She reiterated the “rule of six” still applies to outdoor social gatherings, meaning six people from no more than six people can meet up.

“And because we know this is especially difficult for children and young people, we’ve tried to build in more flexibility for you,” Sturgeon continued.

“If you are younger than 12, there are no limits on playing with your friends outdoors.

“And if you are between 12 and 17 you can meet your friends outdoors in groups of 6 – but you don’t all have to be from just two households.”

The FM added: “For everyone, adults and children, I know that today must feel like a step backwards.

“But please know that thanks to all your efforts over the last six months, we are in a much stronger position than in the spring.

“Cases are rising but less rapidly than back then.

“Our Test and Protect system is working well – tracing contacts and breaking chains of transmission.

“We have much more information on how and where the virus spreads.”

Concluding her statement, Sturgeon urged people to remember “that humanity has come through even bigger challenges than this one”.

She went on: “Though it doesn’t feel like it now, this virus will pass – it won’t last forever and one day, hopefully soon, we will be looking back on it, not living through it.

“So though we are all struggling with this – and believe me, we are all struggling – let’s pull together.

“Let’s keep going, try to keep smiling, keep hoping and keep looking out for each other.

“Be strong, be kind and let’s continue to act out of love and solidarity.

“I will never find the words to thank all of you enough for the enormous sacrifices you have made so far and I am sorry to be asking for more.

“But a belief I hold on to – and one I am asking you to keep faith with in those moments when it all feels too hard – is this: if we stick with it, and above all, if we stick together, we will get through it.”

Speaking from Downing Street, the Prime Minister said “the struggle against Covid is the single biggest crisis the world has faced in my lifetime”.

He said he was “spiritually reluctant to… infringe anyone’s freedom” but insisted new measures now could help avoid a full-scale national lockdown again.

Johnson stated: “Never in our history has our collective destiny and our collective health depended so completely on our individual behaviour.

“If we follow these simple rules together, we will get through this winter together.”

On new restrictions, he continued: “I am deeply, spiritually reluctant to make any of these impositions, or infringe anyone’s freedom, but unless we take action the risk is that we will have to go for tougher measures later, when the deaths have already mounted and we have a huge caseload of infection such as we had in the spring.”

“We must take action now because a stitch in time saves nine.”

Prime Minister Boris Johnson

The Prime Minister added: “If we were forced into a new national lockdown, that would threaten not just jobs and livelihoods but the loving human contact on which we all depend.

“It would mean renewed loneliness and confinement for the elderly and vulnerable, and ultimately it would threaten once again the education of our children.

“We must do all we can to avoid going down that road again.

“If people don’t follow the rules we have set out, then we must reserve the right to go further.

“We must take action now because a stitch in time saves nine; and this way we can keep people in work, we can keep our shops and our schools open, and we can keep our country moving forward while we work together to suppress the virus.”

Visiting other homes banned across Scotland to fight Covid

New restrictions announced for Scotland in a bid to slow the spread of coronavirus.

Visiting other people’s homes has been banned across Scotland in a bid to curb the spread of coronavirus.

Pubs and restaurants will also have to close at 10pm every night from Friday, while employees should still work from home if they can, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said.

Announcing the new measures at the Scottish Parliament, she implored people to “stick with this”.

The ban on going inside other homes comes into force on Wednesday, with exemptions for people living alone who form extended households, non-cohabiting couples, childminders and tradespeople.

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Outdoor gatherings of a maximum of six people from two households are still allowed, but people should not share a car with those they don’t live with.

With the October school holiday looming, families have also been urged to avoid overseas travel during the break.

Sturgeon said while the majority of new coronavirus cases in recent weeks are in those under the age of 40, a rise is now being seen in the older population.

The First Minister said: “It kills too many old and vulnerable people.

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“And for younger, healthier people, while the risks of dying from it are much lower – though not non-existent – it can still result in long-term, serious health problems.

“That’s why action to bring it back under control is necessary – and to bring the R number down again, the action we take now must go beyond the step we announced almost two weeks ago to restrict indoor and outdoor gatherings to six people from two households.”

Sturgeon previously warned Scotland faced a “serious moment” in its battle with Covid-19, with cases rising across the country.

Speaking to MSPs at Holyrood after 383 new cases were recorded overnight, she said the new rules were “necessary and essential”.

She said: “Keeping to all these rules isn’t easy – but they remain the best way for all of us to protect ourselves, each other, the NHS and ultimately save lives.

“All of this is incredibly tough – and six months on it only gets tougher.

“Though it doesn’t feel like this now, this pandemic will pass.

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“It won’t last forever and one day, hopefully soon, we will be looking back on it, not living through it.”

Resources will be given to environmental health officials to step up enforcement and inspections in hospitality venues to ensure social distancing is in place.

Sturgeon said: “This decision today means we can reduce the amount of time people are able to spend in licensed premises, thereby curtailing the spread of the virus while still allowing businesses to trade and provide jobs.”

“This is the best balance for now.”

Addressing reports that measures in Scotland could be in place for up to six months, the First Minister said she hopes that will not be the case.

She told MSPs: “It is certainly the case, until scientific developments such as a vaccine change the game in the battle against Covid-19, it will have an impact on our lives.

“That doesn’t necessarily mean that all of the new restrictions I am announcing today will be in place for six months.

“By acting early and substantially, our hope is that these new measures will be in place for a shorter period than would be the case if we waited longer to act.”

The new measures put in place for Scotland will be reviewed every three weeks, she added.


Coronavirus: Latest restrictions in Scotland at a glance

The measures were outlined by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon in the Scottish Parliament.

The First Minister has announced a tightening of restrictions in Scotland in a bid to curb the spread of coronavirus.

It comes as another 383 new cases of the virus were recorded in the last 24 hours, the highest daily total since April 18, with one death confirmed.

The main changes, outlined by Nicola Sturgeon in the Scottish Parliament, include the extension of a ban on household gatherings to cover all of Scotland, as well as pubs and restaurants being told to close at 10pm on Friday.

But what is the full list of measures confirmed today?

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Pubs and restaurants land curfew

As has been introduced south of the border, pubs and restaurants will have to shut at 10pm from Friday. The Scottish Government’s aim is to curtail the spread of the virus but to allow businesses to continue trading.

“We are seeking to find a balance between action to suppress the virus and the protection of people’s jobs and livelihood,” Sturgeon said.

However, she added if hospitality rules on hygiene, face coverings, table service, maximum numbers and distancing are not fully complied with then further restrictions, including possible closure, will be unavoidable.

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Household gatherings

The ban on visiting other households, which has been in place in the west of Scotland recently, will be extended nationwide from Wednesday. It will be reviewed every three weeks.

There are exceptions, however, such as for those people living alone who form extended households, non-cohabiting couples, childcare and for tradespeople.

Meeting in public

The rules on meeting other people in public indoor spaces, which are subject to guidance, remain the same. That means no more than six people can meet from two households.

What about outdoors?

The rules of two households and groups of up to six still applies outdoors as well, including in private gardens.

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Outdoors, children under 12 are exempt – both from the limit of six and the limit of two households. There are no limits on children under 12 playing together outdoors.

Additionally, young people aged 12-18 will be exempt from the two household limit. They will be allowed to meet together outdoors in groups of up to six, although Sturgeon said this will be monitored “carefully” and stressed this is outdoors only.

Work from home

“Everyone who can work from home, should work from home,” the First Minister said. This will limit numbers on public transport and the gathering of people indoors for prolonged periods.

Sturgeon said if necessary the Scottish Government will put a “legal duty” on businesses to allow home working where possible.

Car sharing

There should be no car sharing between people of different households. Test and Protect data has shown sharing car journeys presents a significant risk of transmission, Sturgeon said.

Circuit breaker?

Talk of a circuit breaker, somewhat of a mini-lockdown, in the October school break has been played down but has not been ruled out altogether.

Sturgeon said no decision has yet been made on this but the Scottish Government is actively keeping it under review.

She also warned: “Given this is a global pandemic, please do not book travel overseas for the October break if it is not essential.”

One coronavirus death and 383 new cases in last 24 hours

The latest figures come ahead of the First Minister's address in Scottish Parliament.

Getty Images
Coronavirus: One more death recorded in Scotland in last 24 hours.

One person with coronavirus has died in the last 24 hours, as Scotland records 383 new cases of the virus.

It’s the highest number of new daily cases since April 18, when 411 cases were confirmed in a day.

Of the new cases, 181 are in Greater Glasgow and Clyde, 92 in Lanarkshire and 51 in Lothian.

The latest figures came ahead of the First Minister’s address in Scottish Parliament.

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In her announcement, she confirmed a ban on household gatherings will be extended across the country from Wednesday.

Pubs and restaurants will also have to close at 10pm every night from Friday.

Employees should work from home if they can, Nicola Sturgeon added.


Driver took drink and drugs before killing boy in crash

Jack Frame suffered catastrophic head injuries after Kanad Basi, 22, lost control of his BMW.

Death: Man admits killing schoolboy in car crash.

A drink driver who had also taken a cocktail of Class A drugs has admitted killing a 16-year-old schoolboy in a car crash.

Kanad Basi, who was almost twice the drink-drive limit and who had taken cocaine and ecstasy, drove into a bend at speed, lost control and crashed into a tree.

His front seat passenger Jack Frame suffered catastrophic head injuries and died at the scene.

Basi, from Pollokshields, Glasgow, was told by judge Lord Mulholland: “This is an utter tragedy for the family of the deceased who lost his life with catastrophic injuries which you were responsible for with your driving.

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“If ever there was a case that showed the folly of the combination of drugs, alcohol and speed, it is this case.”

Basi, 22, pleaded guilty at the High Court in Glasgow to causing the death of Jack by driving dangerously on New Trows Road, Lesmahagow, on February 10, 2019.

Rear passengers Aiden O’Donnell and Eleanor Plenderleith suffered horrific injuries in the crash.

At the High Court in Glasgow, prosecutor Jane Farquharson said Basi had driven to a party in Lesmahagow, Lanarkshire, in his BMW 1 series two-door coupe around 1am.

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A number of the partygoers were impressed by the car and three of them drove off with him at 2am.

Ms Farquharson said: “As the accused approached a right-hand bend, he lost control of the car. 

“His vehicle left the carriageway, mounted the grass verge, collided with a wire fence and struck a tree in the grounds of Hallandbush Golf Club.

“Due to this impact Jack Frame was thrown forward and trapped within the front passenger side of the vehicle. His head was wedged underneath the glove box area.”

Apprentice joiner Mr O’Donnell, who was 18 at the time was sitting behind Basi. He suffered a fractured skull, four facial fractures, two broken legs and a number of fractures to his left arm. He had to undergo surgery and learn to walk again. He has been unable to work since the accident.

Ms Plenderleith, who was 19 at the time of the crash, was knocked unconscious. She had a punctured lung, lacerated liver, broken ribs and a fractured chest bone. A metal plate had to be inserted into her left upper arm.

None of the passengers were wearing a seat belt. Basi, who was wearing one, suffered a broken wrist. His DNA and blood were found on the driver’s airbag.

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The prosecutor added: “Neither passenger has any recollection about the incident itself, or what happened thereafter.

“In the immediate aftermath the accused removed his seat belt and climbed into the rear of the vehicle pushing passenger Eleanor Plenderleith into the front.

“She was found unconscious with her legs in the rear seating area and her head facing down into the driver’s footwell.”

The court heard that Basi used Aiden’s phone to call 999 and during that conversation claimed he (Basi) was the driver.

However, later sitting in the back of an ambulance he was asked by police if he was the driver and replied: “I can’t remember now, but give me half an hour or so and I might remember. I woke up in the back with my friend Aiden and pulled the girl over the front. There were only four in the car.”

A breath test showed Basi had an alcohol count of 37. The legal limit is 22. A blood sample taken from him showed the presence of cocaine and ecstasy.

The family of Jack Frame said in a statement released through Digby Brown Solicitors: “Losing Jack was the worst pain our family has endured but the torment comes from not knowing what happened that night.

“We mourned after what we thought was a tragic accident but to find out nearly a year later that the driver acted illegally just turned everything upside down.

“Dealing with a sudden death is hard enough but to try and deal with a death along with confusion, anger and not knowing any of the facts just makes everything 100 times worse because it’s like losing someone twice as it created a whole other reason to grieve.

“We know nothing can return Jack to us just as we know there is nothing, and no one, that can replace him.

“But other parents who have been in our position will understand – we don’t care how much the truth hurts, we just need the police, the legal system, the courts, whoever, to help us understand what happened.

“We need the truth. We need closure. We need some kind of peace.”

Lord Mulholland remanded first offender Basi in custody and deferred sentence on him until next month for background reports.


‘It wasn’t Grace that was on trial’ – father decries court verdict

Stewart Handling says 'not proven' does not serve any purpose after teenager accused of killing his daughter was set free.

The father of a schoolgirl who died after taking ecstasy says the ‘not proven’ verdict in Scotland doesn’t serve any purpose, after the teenager accused of killing her was set free.

Stewart Handling told STV News it felt like his daughter, Grace, was on trial at the High Court in Glasgow earlier this month.

Callum Owens was cleared of killing Grace after admitting that he supplied her with ecstasy.

Owens admitted giving Grace a pill on June 28, 2018, from a bag of nine he had bought.

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She was later found dead in 19-year-old Owens’ house in Irvine, North Ayrshire.

Owens denied culpable homicide, and a majority jury found the charge not proven.

Mr Handling said: “I don’t like not proven. It doesn’t serve any kind of purpose in my book, you’re either guilty or not guilty, so this middle ground I can only see it there to help the jury member, that’s the only plausible benefit of having that; it helps the jury member who hasn’t had quite enough evidence to sway them one way or another.

“This is the first case of its kind, so I just hope that the fiscal (Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service) in the future are still brave and if – god forbid this ever happens to another family – that we go for a conviction.”

Grace Handling
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Grace’s father also said it felt at times as if it was his daughter, and not Owens, who was on trial.

“You had to say to yourself ‘wait a minute, who’s on trial here’, so that bit is wrong; that you’re able to crucify somebody’s character,” said Mr Handling.

“I think Grace was absolutely savaged in there (court), her character was totally blackened – a wee 13-year-old girl, she’s probably been in a group and she’s probably said ‘no’ 100 times to ecstasy and maybe an odd time, maybe once or twice, she’s given into that.

“She would actually hate the way this happened, you know, her life ended, she would be angry.”

Grace’s family had been aware that she’d taken the drug before, but believed she had stopped after they spoke to her.

The family would like to see tougher sentences for dealers who supply drugs to children. They hope other families won’t have to experience their pain.

“She was a typical teenager, she had a difficult phase, you don’t ever think it’s going to come to an end, you always think ‘you know something, in a few weeks’ time it will be better or in a few months’ time she’ll get over that and she’ll make better choices’, said Mr Handling.

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“Grace was a special girl because she always thought of others and that’s why I’m sure she was at that house in the first place, because she knew that that boy was in his first tenancy alone and she didn’t want him to feel alone

“It was one of the hardest days of my life (the day of the court verdict), apart from the police coming to tell us that Grace had been found dead. It was up there with that day.”

Coronavirus scuppers Glasgow’s hopes of a ‘light Christmas’

Fireworks display and Christmas lights switch-on cancelled in the city due to social distancing restrictions.

SNS
Glasgow's fireworks display has been cancelled.

The annual Christmas lights switch-on at Glasgow’s George Square has been cancelled this year due to social distancing restrictions.

The city’s fireworks display also won’t take place amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

A spokesman for Glasgow Loves Christmas said this year’s celebrations will be a “little different” because of the continuing impact of Covid-19.

The spokesman said: “There will still be much for people to love and enjoy as part of a visit to the city for a special Christmas occasion with George Square still a magical place to be under the Christmas lights and tree.

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“We are aiming to safely deliver more activities in the heart of the city and in Glasgow’s communities, which will meet emerging guidance and will announce details soon.

“Social distancing means the annual fireworks display and Christmas Lights switch-on can’t take place.”

The news comes just a few days after Aberdeen City Council announced a revised Christmas programme.

The city’s fireworks display and Christmas lights switch-on activities at the Castlegate won’t take place.

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Councillor Marie Boulton, spokesperson for Aberdeen City Council Culture, said: “With significant lead-in times and planning required to safely deliver these popular events, it is sensible for us to make the decision not to proceed with fireworks night and to adapt the Christmas switch-on events now given the uncertainty of the current situation.”

Scotland’s capital will also look very different this Christmas and New Year with Edinburgh’s traditional Hogmanay street party called off.

A ban has been implemented on erecting markets and bars in the usual East Princes Street Gardens location.

Instead, Christmas markets and attractions will be spread across the city centre including the Royal Mile, the Mound Precinct, Castle Street and George Street.

The ice rink, traditionally held in St Andrew’s Square, will also move to George Street.

Appeal after cyclist found dead at side of road

The man was pronounced dead on the Dunreggan Brae near Moniaive at its junction with the A702.

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Officers are appealing to motorists for more information on the incident.

A cyclist has been found dead by the side of a road in Dumfries and Galloway.

The man was discovered at 7.25pm on Monday on the Dunreggan Brae near Moniaive at its junction with the A702.

Emergency services attended and the 57-year-old was pronounced dead at the scene.

Officers are now appealing for information on the incident.

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Sergeant William Broatch said: “Our thoughts are with the family and friends of the man who died at this difficult time.

“Our inquiries are ongoing into this incident and we are seeking the public’s assistance to establish exactly what happened.

“The cyclist’s bike is described as a red Specialized model.

“If you were in the area at the time and have not yet spoken to police, I would ask you to please contact us as soon as possible.

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“If you were driving and have access to a dashcam, I would ask you to please check back and see if there is any footage of a man on a bike matching that description that may be able to assist our investigation.”

Anyone with information can contact the road policing unit in Lockerbie on 101, quoting reference number 3342 of 21 September.


Drug van ‘a safe space away from filthy and dangerous alley’

The man behind the drug consumption van says he will continue operating the service despite risk of prosecution.

STV
Glasgow: Peter Krykant is behind the safe drug consumption van.

By Sharon Frew & Jenness Mitchell

“I take drugs to make me forget,” a woman explains as she fills a syringe with liquid cocaine.

“Usually I just stick to my methadone script, but I just wanted something today to make me feel better.”

The woman and her partner were about to get their next fix within a Glasgow city centre alleyway when they learned about the drug consumption van parked only yards away.

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Now preparing to shoot up within the clean surroundings of the vehicle, the woman tells STV News: “I didn’t know this place existed.

“I went to the alley to inject, but I know I’m putting myself at risk going down there.

“It stinks in there. I’m just disgusted with the mess. I always try and pick up the needles I use, why doesn’t everyone else?”

The woman, who has been on methadone for more than a decade, leaves the van after her fix and sets off to collect her prescription.

Inject: One woman takes drugs ‘to forget’.
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The man behind Scotland’s first mobile drug consumption van says he’s determined to continue operating the service despite the risk of prosecution.

Peter Krykant, a recovering heroin addict and former drugs worker, has modified a minibus into a facility where he says addicts will be able to safely take drugs under supervision. He hopes it will prevent overdoses and blood-borne viruses among users.

As well as clean needles and harm reduction advice, there are also medical supplies on board – including naloxone, which is used to reverse a potentially-fatal overdose.

Mr Krykant told STV News: “I’ve answered the question many times, ‘what if someone overdoses and dies on your van?’

“I think that is a fear tactic. We know from experience if someone has an opiate-based overdose, we can reverse that by administrating naloxone.

“We see people dying all the time in our alleyways and on our streets because by the time an ambulance gets to them, it’s too late.”

Filthy: An alleyway in Glasgow is littered with drug paraphernalia.

One user, who learned about the van through word of mouth, has been on and off drugs for more than 20 years.

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The 44-year-old man said: “I had a business, a house, a family.

“One night one of my workmates offered me a line of cocaine, I said yes. The next night I asked him for two. Then I moved on to injecting it.”

He believes users will be less likely to make a mistake whilst on the van as they won’t be forced to hurry or feel under pressure from street CCTV.

The man’s friend, who was there in support, said: “The van is a brilliant idea. It should be like this all the time.

“I’ve seen people using dirty water, even their urine to inject with.

“They use in the street and they try to hide away, but not well enough.

“A few days ago I saw a guy in an alley, injecting into their groin.”

Police: Officers on the lookout for illegal activity.

Mr Krykant has launched the service despite previous calls for a legal consumption room in the city being rejected by the Home Office.

He has been warned that running such a facility puts him at risk of committing offences under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971.

With close to 500 injecting users in Glasgow city centre, Mr Krykant is urging the country’s top law officer to act.

He said: “I think the change needs to come directly in Scotland from our Lord Advocate who has the powers which are devolved to instruct the police not to pursue any convictions around a consumption facility and not purse anyone using a consumption facility.”

Mr Krykant’s call comes as Scotland tops the chart for the highest drug deaths in the EU and as Glasgow tackles its worst HIV outbreak in 30 years.

Nathan Sparling, the chief executive of HIV Scotland, believes there needs to be a unique Scottish and Glasgow response to this, however the UK Government “haven’t allowed that”.

He added: “All the expert advice suggests drug consumption rooms not only stop overdose deaths, but will reduce HIV infections.

“We need to be able to have that intervention because this goes way beyond just drug use – it will help the general population’s wellbeing.”

Needle: There are around 500 injecting users in Glasgow city centre.

In response to the van’s launch, a Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service spokesperson said: “The Lord Advocate is committed to reducing harm arising from illegal drugs but has made it clear that the introduction of such a facility would require legislative change to establish a legal regime for its operation through a democratically accountable process.”

Assistant chief constable Gary Ritchie said Police Scotland is committed to improving the safety and wellbeing of people, places and communities across the country, “including those who are drug dependant”.

He added: “Problematic drug use and substance addiction are complex public health issues, which have long lasting and pernicious impacts on individuals and families, as well as our villages, towns and cities.

“We are engaged in ongoing work with the Drug Deaths Taskforce and a range of partners and recovery communities to explore holistic and sympathetic approaches to finding lasting, sustainable and effective resolutions.

“At present, the establishment of any form of safe consumption location contravenes several sections of the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 and any attempt to circumvent the law as it stands to provide an entirely unlicensed and unregulated facility may expose vulnerable people to more risk and harm.”


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