Boy uses poem to describe life on coronavirus lockdown

Six-year-old Campbell has made a YouTube account where he promises to keep his followers updated on his lockdown activities.

A six-year-old boy has written a poem – with help from his mum – to explain what it feels like to be on lockdown during the coronavirus crisis.

In the rhyme, Campbell Smith admits that he was first excited to find out he didn’t have to go to school but soon realised he wasn’t allowed to go out to see his friends.

In the witty performance, he can be seen chatting to his friends while sitting on his garden fence.

‘Wee Campbell’ has now made a YouTube account where he promises to keep his followers updated on his lockdown activities.

Lockdown restrictions in Scotland likely to ease from Friday

Nicola Sturgeon says current expectation is to begin first phase of Scottish Government plan later this week.

The first phase of the Scottish Government’s four-part plan to ease lockdown restrictions is likely to begin on Friday.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said a “clear decision“ would be made on whether the country is ready to start lifting some of the curbs on daily life that were introduced in March.

“Our current expectation is we will be able to announce a relaxation of some of those restrictions,” she said.

“We will give you careful information as we go through this week about what rules are changing, what measures are in place to help you and what you should be considering as you decide what you can and can’t do,” she added.

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The Scottish Government is next due to review the lockdown on Thursday. Ms Sturgeon has previously said the government would start to ease restrictions once it was satisfied that enough progress had been made to contain the virus.

Some of the restrictions that will be eased in Phase One include being able to take part in non-contact outdoor sports and being allowed to meet members of another household outdoors, providing social distancing rules are still followed.

But Ms Sturgeon said after Thursday the advice would still be for people to “stay at home as much as possible“.

And she said while people would be allowed to meet others outside, they should “think carefully, very carefully” about the number of people they come into contact with.

“Many of the current lockdown rules will still be in place, and it will vital everybody sticks to those,”

Nicola Sturgeon MSP, First Minister
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“Many of the current lockdown rules will still be in place, and it will vital everybody sticks to those,” the First Minister said.

She said people had been asked to make “tough“ sacrifices during the restrictions, adding: “These sacrifices have been for a purpose.

“It is because so many people have stuck to these rules that the number of deaths from Covid in Scotland has finally fallen over the past few weeks.

“In fact in many ways that will be more important than ever. After all as we start to lift these restrictions there is a genuine danger that the virus will start to spread again a bit more quickly,” she added.

The Scottish Government will also announce more details of its “test and protect” system on Tuesday, along with a plan for how public transport can operate safely while Covid-19 is still in circulation.

At Monday’s daily briefing, Ms Sturgeon said coronavirus has claimed the lives of another three people in Scotland, with confirmed cases of the virus reaching 15,156.

It takes the death toll among confirmed Covid-19 patients to 2273 but the total including suspected deaths is just over 3700.

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In total, 1269 people are in hospital with confirmed or suspected Covid-19.

No regrets: PM’s adviser Cummings defends lockdown trip

Prime Minister's key aide says he travelled to Durham because he was worried about his wife and child's safety in London.

Dominic Cummings has defended his decision to travel 260 miles with his family during the coronavirus lockdown.

Cummings, a key aide of Prime Minister Boris Johnson, said his decision to drive to his parents’ home in County Durham was based on concerns about his family’s safety, as well as fears over a lack of childcare if he became incapacitated with the virus.

At a news conference in Downing Street’s rose garden, Mr Cummings said he did not speak to the Prime Minister before making the journey to Durham, after he was told at around midnight on March 26 that Johnson had tested positive for Covid-19.

“I believe in all the circumstances I behaved reasonably and legally,” he said, while denying he had broken the “spirit” of the rules.

“I have not offered to resign. I have not considered it. I think it’s reasonable to say that other people would have behaved differently, in different ways, in this whole situation.”

Dominic Cummings, Adviser to PM Boris Johnson
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“I have not offered to resign. I have not considered it. I think it’s reasonable to say that other people would have behaved differently, in different ways, in this whole situation.

“But as I stress I was trying to balance lots of competing things.”

Mr Cummings also refuted suggestions that he opposed implementing lockdown measures at the outset of the crisis.

“The truth is that I had argued for lockdown, I did not oppose it but these stories had created a very bad atmosphere around my home, I was subjected to threats of violence, people came to my house shouting threats, there were posts on social media encouraging attacks,” he said.

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Mr Cummings said he was worried that “this situation would get worse”, adding: “I was worried about the possibility of leaving my wife and child at home all day and often into the night while I worked in Number 10.

“I thought the best thing to do in all the circumstances was to drive to an isolated cottage on my father’s farm.”

The defence of his actions comes amid furious calls for him to resign or be sacked by Mr Johnson for travelling to County Durham in March to self-isolate with his family after his wife developed coronavirus symptoms.

Mr Cummings denied further reports which suggested he took a second trip to the North East on April 14.

He conceded that “reasonable people may well disagree about how I thought about what to do in the circumstances”, but said: “I don’t regret what I did.”

“I think what I did was actually reasonable in these circumstances. The rules made clear that if you are dealing with small children that can be exceptional circumstances.”

Dominic Cummings, Adviser to PM Boris Johnson

He added: “I think what I did was actually reasonable in these circumstances. The rules made clear that if you are dealing with small children that can be exceptional circumstances.

“And I think that the situation that I was in was exceptional circumstances and the way that I dealt with it was the least risk to everybody concerned if my wife and I had both been unable to look after our four-year-old.”

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Johnson has backed Mr Cummings over reports he breached lockdown rules.

The Prime Minister said on Sunday he believed his adviser had acted “responsibly and legally and with integrity” amid a storm of controversy over the alleged lockdown breaches.

He said Mr Cummings had travelled north to his grandparents to seek care for his young child when his wife developed Covid-19 symptoms, an action the PM defended as following “the instincts of every father”.

Mr Cummings told journalists on Monday he doesn’t “think there’s one rule for me and one rule for other people”.

“As I said, I knew what the guidance was. It talks about exceptional circumstances with small children, and I think that in all the circumstances I behaved reasonably and legally as I said.”

Asked how he could countenance staying on and not resigning, he said: “I think there is understandable anger but a lot of that anger is based on reports in the media that have not been true and it’s extremely regrettable.”

Cummings’ version of events:

  • March 27 – Mr Cummings said he went to Number 10 for a series of meetings, the day after he was told that Johnson had tested positive for Covid-19. He received a call from his wife, who was looking after their four-year-old child, who said she felt badly ill, had vomited and felt like she might pass out.
  • March 28-29 – Mr Cummings began showing symptoms over the weekend of March 28-29 and the family travelled to County Durham.
  • April 2 – Mr Cummings says his son fell unwell and was taken to hospital but that he was still too ill to go with him. Mr Cummings says his son spent the night in hospital and returned home the following day.
  • April 12 – The Cummings family are seen at Barnard Castle, 30 miles away from their residence in the northeast. Mr Cummings confirmed that he went on a “short drive” to Barnard Castle because his eyesight had been affected by the disease and his wife did not want to risk the long drive back to London.
  • April 13 – Mr Cummings says the family got back to London on the evening of April 13 and that he went back to work the next day.
  • April 14 – Mr Cummings is photographed in London. He denies he took a second trip to the North East on this date.
  • April 19 – Witness says Mr Cummings seen looking at bluebells in woods near Houghall close to family home. Mr Cummings says the story is false, claiming that photos and data on his phone prove he was in London.
  • April 20 – Cummings seen in London again

Coronavirus claims the lives of three more people in Scotland

Confirmed death toll in Scotland from Covid-19 is now 2273 with 15,156 cases.

Coronavirus has claimed the lives of another three people in Scotland, with confirmed cases of the virus reaching 15,156.

It takes the death toll among confirmed Covid-19 patients to 2273 but the total including suspected deaths is just over 3700.

In total, 1269 people are in hospital with confirmed or suspected Covid-19.

Out of those, 40 people are in intensive care, the First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said, cautioning that the death toll was often low on a Monday due to reduced weekend reporting.

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However, it has been confirmed 3572 inpatients have been discharged from hospital since March 5.

On Thursday the Scottish Government hope to begin easing the lockdown, having published its four-phase plan to gradually bring back some normality to people’s lives in Scotland.

Coronavirus restrictions are reviewed every three weeks, and any changes will be closely monitored – meaning if the rate of the virus’ transmission increases, measures could be reimposed.

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Victim named after house shooting leaves one dead

Paul Cairns, 42, died at the scene of the gun attack in Nithsdale Road, Ardrossan.

Police Scotland
Victim: Paul Cairns died after being shot on Sunday.

Police have named a man who was the victim of a shooting in North Ayrshire.

Paul Cairns, 42, died at the scene of the gun attack in Nithsdale Road, Ardrossan.

Police said a gunman entered the house at around 4.50pm on Sunday.

Two people were inside the home when he fired, leaving Mr Cairns fatally injured.

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A 42-year-old man was later arrested in Dirrans Terrace, Kilwinning, in connection with the shooting.

Chief inspector Brian Shaw said: “Our thoughts remain with the family and friends of Paul Cairns at this very difficult time, and they ask to be left alone to come to terms with what has happened.

“It would appear to have been a targeted attack and I would like to reassure the community that we do not believe that there is an ongoing to risk to the public.

“Additional officers have been deployed to the area and high visibility patrols will continue to provide further reassurance in the community.

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“Enquiries into the circumstances surrounding this death are ongoing and we are keen to talk to anyone who may have information that would help our investigation or who may have seen anything before or after the incident.”


Brother reflects on Frightened Rabbit singer’s legacy

Grant Hutchison discusses his brother Scott's legacy, two years after he died following struggles with mental health.

“Make tiny changes to the earth.” That’s the stated aim of the charity set up in memory of Frightened Rabbit frontman Scott Hutchison, who took his own life in 2018 after a long struggle with his mental health.

Two years on from his death, Scott’s brother, bandmate and the Tiny Changes charity’s founder Grant Hutchison reflects on the sadness, and joy, that comes with continuing his brother’s legacy.

In this extended interview, he discusses the highs and lows of the past two years, touching on grief, fatherhood, mental health and music.


Almost 1700 domestic abuse crimes recorded under new Act

Introduced in April 2019, the Domestic Abuse (Scotland) Act criminalises coercive and controlling behaviours.

Pixabay
Domestic abuse: The new act criminalises coercive and controlling behaviours.

Almost 1700 offences were recorded under the new Domestic Abuse Act in the last year.

Introduced in April 2019, the Domestic Abuse (Scotland) Act (DASA) criminalised coercive and controlling behaviours used by domestic abusers.

The law created a single offence which covers a full range of behaviours, including physical, psychological, financial or sexual abuse.

The figures from Police Scotland’s quarter four results showed that 1681 crimes under the DASA were recorded during the year, with 1158 detected.

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Deputy chief constable Fiona Taylor has urged people to reach out if they feel they are in an abusive relationship, especially during lockdown.

DCC Taylor said: “Crimes recorded under the new domestic abuse legislation underline the fact that, sadly, private spaces are not safe places for everyone.

“For some people, the stay at home guidance may expose them to a greater risk of abuse, harm and neglect.

“We are seeking to be proactive when it comes to people we know have a history of committing domestic violence or domestic abuse, and we also want to ensure that support is given to people who may have been victims in the past, and we are encouraging people and neighbours to look out for each other.

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“I want to reiterate that Police Scotland remains here to help and support our fellow citizens to keep them safe in all aspects of their lives.

“If you need police assistance, if you need our support or intervention, or if you have concerns about someone else, contact us and we will help.”

The report also highlights that group one crimes of violence had increased 16.2% (1297) year-on-year.

Cyber crimes have also increased over the last year, including the disclosure of, or threat of disclosure of, intimate images, as well as online grooming and cyber-related fraud.

The period covered by the report only includes a small number of days during which emergency Covid-19 social distancing measures were in place.

Detectives seek man after attempted robbery at store

The shop in Dundee was targeted at around 9am on October 27 last year.

Police Scotland
CCTV: Police want to track down the man pictured.

Police have released images of a man they want to track down following an attempted robbery in Dundee.

The store, on Dens Road, was targeted at around 9am on Sunday, October 27 last year.

Detectives believe the man captured on CCTV will be able to help with the investigation.

Detective constable Gavin Smith, of Dundee CID, said: “We are eager to talk to the man in these images in connection with this incident and would urge anyone who may recognise him to get in touch as soon as possible.” 

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If you recognise the man, call 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

Rebuild back under way at school devastated by fire

Woodmill High School in Dunfermline was closed after it was gutted by a major blaze.

Fire ripped through the school building in August last year.

Work has restarted to rebuild a school in Fife devastated by fire.

Woodmill High School in Dunfermline was gutted by a major blaze last August.

Groups of pupils were able to return to classes in January as the school partially reopened.

But coronavirus lockdown measures enforced in March brought the students’ time in classrooms and the repair work on the building to a halt.

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Contractors are now back on site to continue the rebuilding effort, as the work is deemed essential by the Scottish Government.

Shelagh McLean, head of education at Fife Council, said: “Unfortunately, due to the current COVID-19 pandemic, it was not possible to continue with construction work at Woodmill High School, from March onwards.

“Now that work has resumed we are confident that the school will be ready to accept most pupils back in August, depending on any ongoing or further Covid restrictions.

“We understand how difficult this last year has been for our pupils, staff and their families and we can’t thank them enough for their ongoing support, patience and understanding.”

Most education staff ‘anxious about returning to work’

More than eight in ten Scottish education staff are worried about schools returning, survey finds.

Education: Schools slated to return in August.

The vast majority of education staff in Scotland are anxious about returning to work, according to a new survey.

A Unison union poll of more than 5000 education staff in Scotland found that 83% are worried about going back to work or increasing the number of children returning to classrooms.

It also showed that 13% are losing sleep worrying about the issue after being in lockdown during the coronavirus pandemic.

Just 3% of respondents to the survey, carried out between Monday, May 18, and Friday, May 22, consider it safe to return to work.

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Lorraine Thomson, chairwoman of Unison’s Scotland Education Issues Group, said: “Unison’s survey shows the vast majority of education staff are anxious about plans for more children to return to schools and nurseries.

“Before they return we need clear guidance about how we keep children and staff safe.

“We need clarity about infection control and appropriate PPE, and all staff need full training on how to implement new rules and how to use PPE.”

She continued: “A lot more work needs to be done to ensure safe return.

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“The Scottish Government and Cosla must work with Unison to develop guidance, implement new rules and undertake risk assessments.

“We cannot send more children back to school until we all know it is safe for them and all staff.”

The trade union’s survey was divided between early years workers (48%), staff in primary schools (33%) and secondary schools (13%) along with others working in community roles.

Other findings suggest that only 10% have had training on Covid-19 health and safety measures including infection control, correct use of PPE or carrying out a virus-related risk assessment.

Nearly half (46%) did not feel they had enough PPE, while 42% did not know what they should have – but 12% felt there was enough PPE.

A quarter (25%) were not aware of any risk assessments having taken place, while 27% knew they had taken place, but were not confident that action has been taken to respond to issues raised.

The Scottish Liberal Democrats education spokeswoman Beatrice Wishart said: “Opening schools and childcare is the most important step in getting society and the economy back up and running.

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“It is important that Scottish ministers make sure all staff, not just teachers, have the time, the training and the equipment to do this safely.

“Ministers need to set out how they will use the time before August to give staff the confidence that they will be safe and can manage the risk.”

A Scottish Government spokeswoman said: “In reopening Scotland’s schools, our overriding priority is ensuring the health and wellbeing of our pupils and staff and giving parents the confidence schools are safe.

“We will implement physical distancing, staggered arrival and departure times, staggered break times, increased hand hygiene, enhanced cleaning regimes and a range of other measures, including PPE and training for staff.

“Comprehensive health and safety guidance will also be in place prior to staff returning to school.

“The Education Recovery Group, chaired by the deputy first minister, continues to work with representatives of local authorities, parents, teachers’ organisations and trades unions on how we manage the safe re-opening of schools.”

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