Four-year-old boy hugs gran for first time in five months

Charlie Powell has been reunited with his grandmother after lockdown restrictions eased in Scotland.

A four-year-old boy and his gran finally hugged each other again after five months apart in lockdown.

Charlie Powell, from Greenock, suddenly stopped visiting his grandmother, Roberta Brown, as strict coronavirus restrictions were implemented in Scotland.

Charlie’s dad, David Powell, told STV News: “I didn’t tell Charlie he was going to his grans until the morning, because I knew how excited he would be.

“They video called a few times a day while in lockdown but it wasn’t the same.”

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David decided to film their reunion and post the heartwarming moment on social media.

“I thought it would be a good moment to capture and you could see how much it meant to both of them to be reunited.”

Emergency Covid-19 cash help for ‘flagship cultural venues’

Venues like the V&A Dundee will benefit from the funding from the Scottish Government.

Hufton+Crow via V&A Dundee
V&A Dundee: The museum will benefit from emergency funding.

Emergency funding of £1m is being given to the V&A in Dundee to help it deal with the impact of coronavirus.

The move is part of a package of financial aid for “flagship cultural venues” in Scotland, with the Burrell Renaissance Project in Glasgow – which aims to revitalise the museum and safeguard its collection – being awarded £750,000.

Capital Theatres, which operates the Festival Theatre, the King’s Theatre and The Studio in Edinburgh, will receive £500,000, on top of £250,000 it has already been awarded through the Performing Arts Venue Relief Fund.

The latest funding from the Scottish Government is part of efforts to support the culture and heritage sectors, with almost £98m of emergency cash allocated so far.

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Announcing the latest cash awards, culture secretary Fiona Hyslop said: “Culture is vitally important to all of our lives, and the Scottish Government is determined to do everything within our powers to see the sector through this crisis.

“This includes providing financial support to our flagship cultural venues, as well as the work already under way to help smaller organisations and individuals within the culture sector.

“This latest funding announcement brings the Scottish Government’s total Covid-19 support package for our culture and heritage sectors to just under £98m.

“We know further support will still be needed, and the major issues presented by the pandemic are not going away, which is why we will continue to work in partnership with the sector to support them to not only survive the pandemic but to thrive in future.”

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Fiona Gibson, chief executive of Capital Theatres, said the emergency funding was “greatly appreciated” and would be a “short-term financial lifeline”.

She said: “We would very much like to thank the Scottish Government for their support and recognition, acknowledging the crucial contribution our theatres provide to the local, national and cultural sector economies. This will enable us to continue supporting our core staff, freelancers and communities alike.”


Will Scotland’s coronavirus-hit clubs put their trust in the SPFL?

The league is asking for more power to deal with the impact of coronavirus this season.

SNS Group
Neil Doncaster has written to clubs to canvass opinion.

It was only last week that a headline on the Scottish Professional Football League’s website read: “New partnership for SPFL & Trust”.

Sadly, it turned out to be an announcement of the SPFL’s charitable trust sponsoring the Challenge Cup and not a new initiative to repair the wounds opened up earlier this year when the 2019/20 season was ended early as the pandemic stopped play.

Back then, the decision taken by the 42 clubs to bring the season to a close brought anger and acrimony after Dundee’s hugely controversial deciding vote relegated Hearts, Partick Thistle and Stranraer.

Hearts’ venomous social media post after they dismantled Dundee in the opening match of the Championship last week showed that grudges are, unsurprisingly, still held.

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On Friday, the SPFL launched an attempt to avoid any repeat of the ill-feeling and in-fighting that marked last April’s decision making. The league body is consulting clubs on a move granting the SPFL board powers to manage the impact of coronavirus on matches, the league and titles, promotion and relegation.

“If you can’t trust each other then trust us,” seems to be the suggestion. The answer will have a monumental impact on what happens if competition has to be stopped early, and if it doesn’t.

The governing body has asked its members for broader powers to deal with the pandemic before and been denied, so what’s changed?

The SPFL say “several” clubs have changed their position since a clear majority of the 42 clubs voted against the proposal last time.

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It’s understandable that events might have prompted a fresh look at the idea. While the lower leagues have only just begun their shortened season, the Premiership has been in action since August. Of the 12 top-flight clubs, seven have already seen fixtures postponed or rearranged because of the virus and more have seen players or staff test positive or have to self-isolate.

The Premiership returned after lockdown with a set of protocols and practices to keep everyone as safe as possible and to allow for the competition to be played along with the return of the cup competitions, European games and internationals. But positive tests and postponements have seen SPFL figures look at the fixtures, the packed schedule and the finish date of May 31 with furrowed brows and decide that some action has to be taken if that isn’t to be put in jeopardy. And in taking responsibility for keeping everything on track, more powers are asked for.

The consultation document sent to clubs has a number of questions, most related to how the season could be ended early, if that unpalatable scenario was to play out. But before dealing with that big issue, there’s the immediate issue of how to deal with postponements – an issue that’s already in play.

While early postponements involving Celtic and Aberdeen were made at the government’s request, the recent situations at Kilmarnock and St Mirren have been different. Those clubs, left without enough senior players to fulfil a fixture, made a request to the league to postpone games.

The league gave their consent and at the same time announced investigations into the circumstances. If the clubs were to be found to be lacking in their anti-Covid regime then they would face disciplinary action and could forfeit the match.

The SPFL is now asking clubs: “Would you support the SPFL Board being given a specific power to impose a 3-0 defeat on any club that is unwilling or unable to fulfil a League fixture, so as to expedite the completion of the League programme of fixtures?.”

“So as to expedite the completion of the League programme.” The implication is clear. Finishing the competition is paramount, even if a series of games are decided in the boardroom and not on the pitch.

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Without investigation and hearings, results would be handed down and points allocated that would have a huge bearing on the final league positions and all the consequences that come with them. Even now, if the postponed matches so far had all been marked down as default 3-0 losses then the league table would be unrecognisable from its current state.

Though the idea of a results page littered and distorted with asterisks is a gloomy one, it’s nothing compared to the SPFL’s nightmare scenario, where they would once again find themselves unable to complete fixtures in the allotted time.

One of the questions they put to clubs is simple: “Is it too early to take binding decisions now about the various issues that could arise at the end of a curtailed season?”. In other words: what can we do to avoid knife-edge votes when there are titles and relegations on the line?

Once the issue of what constitutes enough of a season to count has been answered (and members are being asked their views on that percentage and if a short season could be voided) there’s the question of who decides to call an end to competition.

The doomsday scenario is being discussed, as SPFL chief executive Neil Doncaster says, “before we get to the situation where league positions understandably influence the individual approach of club”. Some will argue that ship has sailed, if it ever existed, but the league body wants to put that power in the hands of the board.

The SPFL board, in addition to chairman Murdo McLennan, chief executive Doncaster and independent director Karyn McCluskey is currently comprised of representatives from St Johnstone, Hamilton Accies and Celtic, Alloa and Dunfermline, Brechin City and Clyde.

As a representative board it’s pretty representative with figures from clubs throughout the divisions who could and most likely will involved at either the prize end or the trap door in their respective leagues. For that very reason it’s hard to see how any major decision could be reached without accusations of self-interest being made, regardless of how pure motives may be.

Clubs may have been happy to hand power to colleagues to look after their interests in the normal scheme of things but are less likely to hand them an axe and put their neck on the line.

That may have been the reason the previous attempt to expand the powers of the Hampden boardroom was denied but the prospect of another civil war in the middle of a pandemic may have changed minds in the months since.

Trust will be key. Not every outcome will be decided by the players this season, that much is clear, so who clubs place their faith in might be the deciding factor in more than just another Hampden vote.


Artist puts coronavirus community heroes in the frame

Karen Strang has created stunning portraits of frontline workers who kept going through lockdown.

Karen Strang via Contributed

Frontline workers who have helped people during the pandemic have been gifted the keepsake of a lifetime by an artist.

Karen Strang has been painting portraits of key workers from all walks of life, reflecting the important work they do, as a way of giving back to her community.

The heroes include a bin man, shopkeeper and a bagpiping nurse.

Karen started the project at the beginning of lockdown in her garage and kept it going at her studio in Alloa.

STV News
Karen Strang has created portraits of community heroes in Clackmannanshire.
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She said: “I was very struck by the number of portraits that were being done for NHS heroes.

“I got involved with to begin with but then I though about what’s on my doorstep – what about all the cleaners, what about the people that work in care homes?

“I thought they need to be represented and paid tribute to as well.”

The portraits are now being collated and will be published in a new book, alongside each key worker’s personal story.

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Peter McNee: Refuse collection worker

Peter has been working as a bin man for 30 years with Clackmannanshire Council. He said he was shocked, but honoured, to be nominated. 

He said: “It’s a lovely portrait, it really is. It’s something I’ll be able to show the grandchildren to remind them of the coronavirus pandemic.”

Karen Strang via Contributed
Refuse collection worker Peter McNee.

Lynne Russell: Staff nurse at NHS Forth Valley

Lynne was nominated by a friend for not only her dedication to her job, but because she kept her patients and colleagues spirits high by playing her bagpipes outside the hospital every week.

Karen Strang via Contributed
NHS Forth Valley staff nurse Lynne Russell

Jaspreet Singh: Shopkeeper

Jaspreet runs Medwyn Stores in Alloa and has been working since the beginning of lockdown to ensure his customers get the essentials they need. It was his customers who nominated him.

Karen Strang via Contributed
Shopkeeper Jaspreet Singh.
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Ray Illif: Homecarer
Ray was nominated by his wife for caring for her during lockdown. She has multiple sclerosis and said her husband has supported her whole family through challenging times.

Karen Strang via Contributed
Homecarer Ray Illif.

Steven Dewar: Security guard
Steven was nominated by his partner for working all throughout lockdown without a single complaint.

Karen Strang via Contributed
Security guard Steven Dewar.

Scotland’s five-tier coronavirus alert system revealed

Different parts of Scotland to be given their own level of restrictions under the plans.

Jeff J Mitchell via Getty Images

A proposed five-tier system of measures for dealing with coronavirus in Scotland has been revealed.

The plan – set to come into force on November 2 – ranges from life being “closest to normal” without a vaccine at level zero to almost a full lockdown at level four, when non-essential shops would close.

Level two will be similar to current rules outside central Scotland, with level three likened to those inside the central belt, where pubs and restaurants are closed.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said there were no plans to close schools, even under the strictest measures.

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Council areas in Scotland will each be given their own alert rating, with restrictions designed to match the risk of Covid spreading locally.

However, the whole country could be placed in the same level if necessary, Sturgeon said at her daily briefing, where she also revealed the week’s death toll from Covid-19 had reached 94.

The new system of restrictions has been anticipated since a similar three-tiered system was introduced in England by Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

MSPs will vote on whether to adopt the new the proposal next week.

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Earlier this month, temporary restrictions were brought in across Scotland and, although initially set to end on October 25, these were extended until the new tiered system comes into effect.

Since October 9, bars and licensed restaurants in five health board areas – Greater Glasgow and Clyde, Lanarkshire, Ayrshire and Arran, Lothian and Forth Valley – have been forced to close for all but takeaways.

Pubs, bars, restaurants and cafes elsewhere in Scotland are only allowed to serve indoor customers between 6am and 6pm with a ban on alcohol inside, although alcoholic drinks can be served until 10pm in outdoor areas.

The hospitality industry has launched legal action to challenge the restrictions, which it says will cost jobs and force businesses to close permanently.

Indoor meetings with other households are also currently banned across Scotland.

Level by level at-a-glance

Zero

  • Most businesses can open
  • Eight people from three households are able to meet indoors
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One

  • Indoor visits restricted to six people from two households

Two

  • Limits on when pubs and restaurants can open
  • No indoor socialising
  • Six people from two households will be able to meet outdoors

Three

  • Closure of pubs, although restaurants can open in some circumstances

Four

  • Closure of non-essential shops

At a glance: Scotland’s new coronavirus levels system

The Scottish Government's new strategic framework for tackling the spread of Covid-19 has five tiers.

Jeff J Mitchell via Getty Images

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has outlined a new system for dealing with coronavirus.

It involves five levels, zero to four, and will come into effect on November 2, pending parliamentary approval of the framework on Tuesday.

Sturgeon said on Friday the central belt is currently living with the equivalent of level three restrictions in the new system and the rest of the country is living with restrictions that are the equivalent of level two.

The FM also said a final decision on where each local authority area will be placed in the new framework has not yet been made.

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Level zero will represent the closest to normal the country can get without effective treatment or a vaccine, whereas level four will be much closer to the full lockdown restrictions seen from the end of March.

The Scottish Government framework can be viewed here and at a glance below:

LEVEL ZERO:

Socialising – Eight people from three households can meet indoors. Fifteen people from five households can meet outdoors.

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Hospitality – Pubs, restaurants and cafes are open and can sell alcohol indoors and outdoors. But restrictions on opening hours may apply.

Accommodation – Hotels, B&Bs and self-catering accommodation such as caravans and campsites are permitted to open.

Travel – No non-essential travel to/from areas of Scotland that are in level three or higher. International quarantine regulations apply.

Transport – Avoid car sharing with people outside extended household wherever possible. Face masks on public transport.

Retail and close contact services – Shops and close contact services – such as hairdressers, barbers, tailors and beauticians are open.

Public buildings – Buildings such as libraries and museums are open.

Stadia and events – Outdoor events are permitted and spectators allowed in football stadiums with restricted numbers. Indoor events can go ahead with restricted numbers.

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Weddings, civil partnerships and funerals – All allowed but with a 50 person limit.

Places of worship – Open but restricted to 50 people.

Leisure and Entertainment – Open with the exception of adult entertainment and nightclubs.

Workplaces – Open but working from home is the default option.

Schools – Open with standard protective measures in place.

LEVEL ONE:

Socialising – Six people from two households can meet indoors and outdoors.

Hospitality – Pubs, restaurants and cafes are open and can sell alcohol indoors and outdoors. But restrictions on opening hours may apply.

Accommodation – Hotels, B&Bs and self-catering accommodation such as caravans and campsites are permitted to open.

Travel – No non-essential travel to/from areas of Scotland that are in level three or higher. International quarantine regulations apply.

Transport – Avoid car sharing with people outside extended household wherever possible. Face masks on public transport.

Retail and close contact services – Shops and close contact services – such as hairdressers, barbers, tailors and beauticians are open.

Public buildings – Buildings such as libraries and museums are open.

Stadia and events – Outdoor events are permitted and spectators allowed in football stadiums with restricted numbers. Indoor events can go ahead with restricted numbers.

Weddings, civil partnerships and funerals – All allowed but with a 20 person limit.

Places of worship – Open but restricted to 50 people.

Leisure and Entertainment – Open with the exception of adult entertainment and nightclubs.

Workplaces – Open but working from home is the default option.

Schools – Open with standard protective measures in place.

LEVEL TWO:

Socialising – People cannot socialise indoors with another household. Six people from two households can meet outdoors and in hospitality settings.

Hospitality – Pubs, restaurants and cafes are open. Alcohol can be sold outdoors but only with a main meal indoors. Restrictions on opening hours may apply.

Accommodation – Hotels, B&Bs and self-catering accommodation such as caravans and campsites are permitted to open. Level 2 hospitality rules apply.

Travel – No non-essential travel to/from areas of Scotland that are in level three or higher. International quarantine regulations apply.

Transport – Avoid car sharing with people outside extended household wherever possible. Face masks on public transport.

Retail and close contact services – Shops and close contact services – such as hairdressers, barbers, tailors and beauticians – open but mobile close contact services not permitted.

Public buildings – Buildings such as libraries and museums are open with protective measures in place.

Stadia and events – Only drive-in events permitted. Stadiums closed to spectators.

Weddings, civil partnerships and funerals – All allowed but with a 20 person limit.

Places of worship – Open but restricted to 50 people.

Leisure and Entertainment – Cinemas and amusement arcades can open. The following venues must close: soft play, funfairs, indoor bowling, theatres, snooker/pool halls, music venues, casinos, bingo halls, nightclubs and adult entertainment

Workplaces – Open but working from home is the default option.

Schools – Open with standard protective measures in place.

LEVEL THREE:

Socialising – People cannot socialise indoors. Six people from two households can meet outdoors and in hospitality settings.

Hospitality – Pubs, restaurants and cafes cannot sell alcohol indoors or outdoors. Restrictions on opening hours for eating out may apply.

Accommodation – Hotels, B&Bs and self-catering accommodation such as caravans and campsites are permitted to open. The guidance encourages non-essential use by locals only – not for tourists.

Travel – No non-essential travel into our out of the level three area. International quarantine regulations apply.

Transport – Avoid car sharing with people outside extended household wherever possible. Avoid non-essential use of public transport. Face coverings compulsory.

Retail and close contact services – Shops and close contact services – such as hairdressers, barbers, tailors and beauticians are open but may be subject to additional measures. Mobile close contact services not permitted.

Public buildings – Buildings such as libraries and museums are open with protective measures in place.

Stadia and events – No indoor or outdoor events permitted. Stadiums closed to spectators.

Weddings, civil partnerships and funerals – All allowed but with a 20 person limit.

Places of worship – Open but restricted to 50 people.

Leisure and Entertainment – All venues closed.

Workplaces – Open but working from home is the default option.

Schools – Open with standard protective measures in place.

LEVEL FOUR:

Socialising – People cannot socialise indoors. Six people from two households can meet outdoors.

Hospitality – Pubs, restaurants and cafes must close.

Accommodation – Hotels, B&Bs and self-catering accommodation not open for tourists. Work-related essential use only.

Travel – No non-essential travel into or out of the level 4 area. If necessary, limits on travel distance, or a requirement to stay at home.

Transport – Avoid car sharing with people outside extended household wherever possible. No use of public transport, except for essential purposes. Face coverings compulsory

Retail and close contact services – Shops and close contact services – such as hairdressers, barbers, tailors and beauticians – must close. Mobile close contact services not permitted

Public buildings – Buildings such as libraries and museums are closed.

Stadia and events – No indoor or outdoor events permitted. Stadiums closed to spectators.

Weddings, civil partnerships and funerals – A maximum of five people allowed at weddings (six where an interpreter is required). Funerals and wakes subject to 20 person limit.

Places of worship – Open but restricted to 20 people.

Leisure and Entertainment – All venues closed.

Workplaces – Only essential indoor workplaces can open along with outdoor workplaces in sectors such as construction and engineering.

Schools – Open with standard protective measures in place.

Coronavirus: 18 more deaths and 1401 new cases in Scotland

The First Minister confirmed the latest figures at the daily briefing.

Andrew Milligan via Getty Images

Another 18 people with coronavirus have died in Scotland as the country recorded 1401 new cases.

The latest figures were revealed by the First Minister at the daily briefing.

The death toll under this measure – of people who first tested positive for the virus within the previous 28 days – has risen to 2688.

Of the new cases recorded, 493 were in Greater Glasgow and Clyde, 413 in Lanarkshire, 169 in Lothian and 117 in Ayrshire and Arran.

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There are currently 975 patients in hospital, who are confirmed to have the virus, 41 more than on Thursday.

Of these, 76 people are being treated in intensive care.

Activist charged by police at drug consumption van

Peter Krykant, 43, has been charged in connection with an offence under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971.

SNS Group via SNS Group
Police: Officers have charged a man.

An activist has been charged by police after officers attended at a drug consumption van in Glasgow.

Peter Krykant, 43, is campaigning for a change in the law, claiming the current legislation forces addicts to inject in unsafe conditions in filthy alleyways.

He has now been charged after police attended a drug consumption van in Parnie Street on Friday morning.

A Police Scotland spokesperson said: “A 43-year-old man has been charged in connection with an offence under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 on Parnie Street in Glasgow during the morning of Friday, October 23.

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“A report will be submitted to the Procurator Fiscal in due course.”


Visiting restrictions to come into force at three hospitals

NHS Tayside has put restrictions in place at Perth Royal Infirmary, Ninewells Hospital and Strathcaro Hospital.

© Google Maps 2020
Perth Royal Infirmary: Visiting restrictions will come into force on Monday.

New visiting restrictions will come into force at three hospitals across Tayside on Monday.

The health board said its clinical and public health teams made the “difficult decision” in order to curb the spread of coronavirus and protect vulnerable patients.

All wards at Perth Royal Infirmary will be restricted to visitors, along with all adult wards at Ninewells Hospital in Dundee. The surgical unit wards at Strathcaro Hospital near Brechin have also been restricted.

Claire Pearce, NHS Tayside’s director of nursing and midwifery, said: “We understand that suspending visiting will impact on families and patients and we know that not being able to visit family members whilst they are in hospital is distressing for many people. 

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“However it is vital that we keep our patients, staff and the public safe. We hope everyone understands that we have made this difficult decision for these reasons.”  

Four wards across Tayside already have restricted visiting due to outbreaks of Covid-19.

The health board said the virus is “circulating widely in the community”, with the current incidence rate within Dundee higher than some of the local authorities in the central belt that are under enhanced restrictions.

NHS Tayside said there are almost 50 patients with confirmed coronavirus in its hospitals, along with a number of suspected cases.

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Despite the restrictions, visiting can continue in specific circumstances, for example for patients receiving end-of-life care. 

The public can continue to visit:

  • Tayside Children’s Hospital.
  • Maternity and neonatal wards. Partners can continue to attend for births, scans and antenatal appointments.
  • Mental health facilities, including Carseview Centre.
  • Community hospitals.

Anyone with a question about visiting should contact the senior charge nurse in the ward to discuss their individual situation.  

Ms Pearce added: “In order to manage the number of patients with the virus, we are using our three acute hospitals flexibly with patients and staff moving between the sites. 

“This means that we must restrict visiting in all three sites to help further reduce the number of people coming into our hospitals each day and help limit the spread of coronavirus. 

“We will continue to offer virtual visiting for patients using telephones, tablets and laptops to allow people to keep in touch with their loved ones.” 

Eric Audras via Getty Images
Hospital: The fight to stop the spread of the deadly virus goes on.

Meanwhile, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde (NHSGGC) is calling on the public to heed current guidelines to minimise the number of new hospital admissions following a surge in coronavirus case numbers.

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There are currently more than 500 patients in hospital across the region with the virus.

The health board has now implemented red, amber and green patient pathways across its sites to separate Covid from non-Covid patients to minimise the spread of the virus.

There are currently 20 red wards which are exclusively treating patients with Covid-19. 

Dr Scott Davidson, deputy medical director for acute services at NHSGGC, said: “Numbers are continuing to rise across Scotland, and Greater Glasgow and Clyde has been the worst affected region in the country. 

“It is absolutely critical the public follows the guidelines to ensure that our staff are able to continue effectively managing and treating both Covid and non-Covid patients.

“During this time we are maintaining a programme of elective surgery but this also means that we are currently looking after more patients than ever before, so while the numbers of Covid-19 patients may not yet have reached March’s peak levels, there is as much pressure on our staff across services.

“We would like to remind the public of the current policies in relation to using health services, as minimising unnecessary footfall plays a huge role in preventing the spread of the virus, and allows our staff to focus on delivering the best care possible.”

Health service guidance

  • Attend hospital appointments alone unless you fall into one of the specific support categories
  • Please only use emergency departments in an emergency.
  • Community assessment centres are there to provide support to those with Covid-19 symptoms.
  • Community health practices and pharmacies are still available alongside out-of-hours services, which you can access by calling 111.

FACTS guidance:

F – Face coverings. These should be used in shops and on public transport.

A – Avoid crowded places.

C – Clean your hands frequently, using water and soap whenever possible.

T – Two metres – observe physical distancing.

S – Self-isolate and book a test if you are suffering from Covid-19 symptoms.

For more information, click here.

 


Family of murder victim: ‘Life will never be the same’

A 43-year-old man has now been charged over the death of Daniel Greer, 33, from North Lanarkshire.

Police Scotland via Facebook / Ross MacDonald via SNS Group
Murder: Officers have arrested and charged a suspect.

The family of a North Lanarkshire man who was murdered in his own home has said “life will never be the same” without him.

The body of Daniel Greer, 33, was discovered within his house in Rankin Crescent, in the village of Greengairs, at around 12.55pm on Monday.

In a statement, his family said: “He was a much loved member of our family and he will be sadly missed.

“My darling boy Daniel, life will never be the same without you.

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“We will always love you.”

On Friday morning, police confirmed a 43-year-old man had been arrested in connection with the death. The force later confirmed the suspect has now been charged.

He is due to appear at Airdrie Sheriff Court on Monday and a report will be sent to the Procurator Fiscal.

Detective superintendent Kevin Jamieson said: “I’d like to thank the local people in the Greengairs and Airdrie communities for their assistance during this inquiry and to assure them that a significant police presence will remain in the area at this time.”


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