Army assessing SEC as potential Covid-19 temporary hospital

The Glasgow site is under consideration to give the NHS extra capacity to treat coronavirus patients.

SEC: Glasgow site assessed by army officials.
SEC: Glasgow site assessed by army officials.

The armed forces are assessing Glasgow’s SEC as a potential site for a temporary hospital to help tackle the coronavirus outbreak.

A spokesman for the military confirmed Army officials had been meeting with the Scottish Government and NHS Scotland on Thursday about launching such a site.

They were assessing the Scottish Event Campus (SEC), based on the Clyde, as a “potential for an NHS facility run by NHS Scotland” with military assistance.

The site includes the SEC centre, the SEC Armadillo and the SSE Hydro, although it is not clear if officials are considering using the entire campus.

‘Under active consideration’

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said on Scotland Tonight: “We are exploring the option of an additional temporary hospital, similar to what was announced yesterday in the ExCel Centre in London.”

She continued: “We’d been exploring the option of the Exhibition Centre in Glasgow as a possible venue for that, so that’s under active consideration to make sure that – should we need it – we have the extra capacity we need.

“But that would be on top of the beds that we already want to add to our existing hospitals.”

It comes after Scotland’s chief medical officer Dr Catherine Calderwood said there had been “detailed discussions very recently” about establishing a site to allow extra NHS capacity for coronavirus patients in Scotland.

Military personnel walk inside the Excel Centre in London, which is to be a field hospital

A total of 894 people have been diagnosed with the virus in Scotland, with 25 deaths and 57 people currently in intensive care.

However, the chief medical officer warned earlier on Thursday the true number of infections in Scotland is likely to be between 40,000 and 50,000.

The discussions with the military follows plans by the NHS in London to use the ExCeL Centre to treat up to 4000 people.

Salmond trial accusers voice devastation at verdict

The nine women said they hope society can move forward in its understanding of sexual harassment.

Getty Images
Alex Salmond: Former FM arriving at court during his trial.

The women involved in the criminal case against Alex Salmond have said they are “devastated” after the former first minister was cleared of all the charges against him.

In a statement released on Sunday, the nine women said they hope society can move forward in its understanding of sexual harassment.

They added that demeaning, intimidating and humiliating behaviour should not be seen as trivial or tolerated.

On Monday, a jury found Salmond not guilty of 12 charges and one charge against him was found not proven.

The women insisted that while the experience of taking the case to court had been “traumatic”, it had been the “right thing to do”.

In a joint statement, the nine women said: “While we are devastated by the verdict, we will not let it define us.

“We hope through shining a light on our experiences, it will serve to protect and empower women in the future.”

Their statement, issued by the charity Rape Crisis Scotland, added: “Today we want to send a strong and indisputable message that such behaviours should not be tolerated – by any person, in any position, under any circumstances.”

The women spoke out almost a week after the former SNP leader was cleared of the 13 charges he had been facing, including an allegation of attempted rape, by a jury at the High Court in Edinburgh.

The complainers, who were identified in the trial only as Woman A, Woman B, Woman C, Woman D, Woman F, Woman G, Woman H, Woman J, and Woman K, said: “The jury has delivered a majority verdict on the charges brought against the former first minister.

“We are devastated by the verdict. However it is our fervent hope that as a society we can move forward in our understanding of sexual harassment and sexual assault.”

They recalled that Mr Salmond’s lawyer, Gordon Jackson QC, had quoted Woman H and said “his client should have been a ‘better man’.”

In her evidence to the court, Woman H had said: “I wish for my life the first minister was a better man and I was not here.”

In his closing speech, Mr Jackson told the jury: “If in some ways the former first minister had been a better man, I wouldn’t be here, you wouldn’t be here, none of us would be here.”

But he went on to argue the case against Salmond “stinks”, saying it comes from “this political bubble with no real independent support”.

In their statement, the women said: “Many of us did speak up at the time of our incidents but were faced with procedures that could not deal with complaints against such a powerful figure.

“Others were silenced by fear of repercussions.

“It was our hope, as individuals, that through coming forward at this time we could achieve justice and enact change.

“We remain firm in our belief that coming forward to report our experiences and concerns was the right thing to do.

“But it is clear we alone cannot achieve the change we seek.”

They added: “All people should feel safe, valued and equal in society and their workplace and it is imperative to ensure robust complaint structures are in place.”

Alex Salmond declined to comment.

Coronavirus: Seven more deaths in Scotland takes total to 40

The death toll from Covid-19 in Scotland has risen to 40 from 33 while there are 1245 cases - up 186.

Getty Images
Coronavirus: Message to drivers on M8.

The death toll from coronavirus in Scotland has risen by seven in the last 24 hours, taking total patient deaths to 40.

Confirmed Scottish cases of Covid-19 have increased by 186 in a day to 1245, the Scottish Government also confirmed.

A total of 13,133 tests on patients in Scotland have been concluded, with 11,888 people testing negative.

Cases in the Greater Glasgow and Clyde health board area have jumped by 77 since Friday to stand at 376.

Source: Scottish Government

NHS Lanarkshire has reported a rise of 25 cases, up to 165, and NHS Lothian is up 12 cases to 151, while NHS Tayside is unchanged on 107.

Fourteen more cases have been found in Forth Valley, taking the health board’s total to 95, and there are 15 more in Ayrshire and Arran, taking total patients to 90.

There are 60 cases in Dumfries and Galloway, up 13, 52 in the Grampian area, up seven, and 51 in Fife, up ten.

NHS Highland has 36, a rise of three since Friday, NHS Borders has 35, an increase of seven, and NHS Shetland has 27, a rise of three.

No cases have been reported by NHS Orkney or NHS Western Isles.

Meanwhile, the UK Government reported that as of 5pm on Friday, 1019 people diagnosed with the virus in the UK have died – up 260 in the last 24 hours, a rise of more than a third.

As of 9am on Saturday, there are 17,089 patients with coronavirus in the UK.

These figures are highly likely to be underestimates.

More to follow

SNP urges UK ministers to ‘hit pause’ on Brexit talks

The UK Government should seek to extend the transition period to focus on tackling Covid-19, the SNP said.

Brexit: UK 'can't continue hurtling to deadline'.

The SNP is urging the UK Government to “hit pause” on Brexit negotiations and seek an extension to the transition period to focus on the coronavirus pandemic.

The party’s Brexit spokeswoman, MP Philippa Whitford, said it would be irresponsible and “an act of economic and social self-harm” to continue “hurtling” towards the transition deadline.

Post-Brexit talks with the European Union will continue this week despite the UK and much of the continent being on a coronavirus-enforced lockdown.

Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove will co-chair discussions via video conference as the two sides look at implementing what is in the Withdrawal Agreement once the transition period ends, which is due to happen on December 31.

Dr Whitford called on the UK Government to immediately seek an extension to the transition period.

She said: “The Covid-19 outbreak has gripped us all – regardless of politics or borders – and it is vital that governments here in the UK and abroad work collaboratively to combat the pandemic.

“Businesses, individuals and households across the UK are already under intense pressure and financial strain in dealing with the crisis – with many losing their incomes and a significant number of businesses facing an uncertain future.

“It is impossible for businesses and others to prepare for life outside the EU while coping with the impact of the Covid-19 crisis at the same time, and many might struggle to survive the second blow of a hard Brexit at the end of this year.

“Continuing talks and hurtling towards the transition period deadline would be irresponsible and an act of economic and social self-harm.

“It is now vital that the UK Government hits pause on all Brexit negotiations and immediately seeks an extension to the transition period to remove the uncertainty and instability.”

Downing Street has continued to insist that the government will not ask to have the end-of-the-year deadline for a trade deal to be reached put back.

When asked about a possible extension to the transition period on Friday, the Prime Minister’s official spokesman told reporters: “In terms of the timetable, there is no change from our point of view.”

Dr Whitford urged the UK Government to mirror the example of the Scottish Government, who have postponed planning for an independence referendum in 2020 due to the pandemic.

She said: “The SNP Scottish Government made the difficult but responsible decision to pause work on preparing for an independence referendum this year.

“The UK Government must now mirror that step so that we can focus on protecting our citizens and delivering financial support to everyone in society.”

The UK Government has been asked for comment.

Nurse raises thousands for patients with coronavirus

Alison Williams launched the crowdfunding page after seeing how 'desperately unwell' patients with coronavirus are.

Edinburgh Royal Infirmary: Staff have seen first hand how patients are suffering.

A nurse has raised thousands of pounds to help patients with coronavirus after seeing first hand how “desperately unwell” they have become.

Alison Williams from Edinburgh launched the crowdfunding page in a bid to raise money for essential items needed by those hospitalised with the covid-19 virus in Lothian and “potentially beyond”.

The page, which had an initial target on £500, has already raised over £4000 since it was launched on Saturday morning.

That number continues to grow as donations come flooding.

Alison says they are looking for donations that will help them purchase pyjamas, toiletries and Ipads to allow them to keep in contact with families after seeing how “desperately unwell” they are.

On the JustGiving page she said: “Unfortunately staff working in the COVID positive wards at the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary are seeing first hand how desperately unwell these people are and how little they have.

“Without any visitors, and families at home in isolation they have little or no clothing and toiletries.

“We’re looking to purchase men’s/ladies pyjamas, toiletries and, if donations permit, hospital ipads to allow them to keep in touch with their families at such a difficult time.

“We appreciate that things are difficult for everyone right now but if you can help someone in the most difficult of times if would be very much appreciated.”

You can donate to the crowdfunding page here.

More on:

Scottish Secretary Jack develops coronavirus symptoms

The Conservative MP has not been tested but is self-isolating.

Jack: Self-isolating with coronavirus symptoms.

Scottish Secretary Alister Jack is self-isolating after developing mild symptoms of coronavirus.

The Conservative MP for Dumfries and Galloway said he has a mild temperature and a cough.

He has not been tested for Covid-19 but is self-isolating and working from home.

It comes after Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Health Secretary Matt Hancock confirmed on Friday that they have tested positive for Covid-19 while England’s chief medical officer, Professor Chris Whitty, said that he has symptoms.

Jack said: “In the past 24 hours, I have developed mild symptoms associated with coronavirus.

“In line with medical guidance, I am self-isolating and working from home.”

The MP has been at home in his constituency since Wednesday.

Johnson, Hancock and Mr Whitty are all self-isolating and continuing to work.

More on:

Coronavirus: Dentists fear they could close without support

More than 600 dentists have warned the government their services risk being 'decimated'.

For anyone with a toothache, getting an appointment at your dentist is no longer an option.  

This week saw practices close their doors to all patients to reduce the risk of spreading coronavirus.  

Some fear a lack of financial support could force them to close down.  

More than 600 dentists have signed a letter to the Scottish Government urging them to intervene to prevent NHS dental practices from being “decimated”.

Dentists are now dealing with queries on the phone, with the most serious cases referred to central hubs such as health centres or dental hospitals.

If a patient is showing no Covid-19 symptoms they can be given advice or a prescription.

Only serious cases including swelling, bleeding or trauma are sent to a designated site such as a health centre or dental hospital.

Last week the Scottish Government agreed to continue to pay practices 90% of NHS funding.

However, dentists that rely more heavily on patient charges could see their finances hit hard.

Drew Gibson runs two NHS practices in Bearsden, with around 13,000 registered patients.

“I think there will be a significant number of practices that will be in financial difficulty in a short period of time,” he said.

“Medical, pharmaceutical, optical and so on are receiving 100% funding and that is something that we are not receiving at this moment in time and I would certainly urge the Scottish Government to look at that purely from the viability of the jobs within dental practices and so on.”

However, officials say they are doing all they can to keep all practices open.

Chief dental officer for Scotland Tom Ferris told STV: “We are working really hard in the background to see if we can identify additional resource to support those practices that are more dependent on that patient charge for revenue.  

“They are not going to have no hit.  Every business is going to take a bit of a hit from this process and there will be an impact on practices.  

“We hope to do as much as we can to make sure they are in the place to ride out that storm and be there for us when we get to the other end.”

Details of additional funding are expected next week.

Dogs from self-isolating homes ‘should be kept on lead’

Dogs from households which are self-isolating 'should be kept on the lead in public'.

Holyrood: New guidelines issued for dog owners.

Dogs from households which are self-isolating should be kept on the lead in public, according to new guidelines from the Scottish Government.

It is urging all animal owners to plan how they would care for them if they had to self-isolate.

The Scottish Government said that currently there is no evidence that livestock or companion animals such as dogs and cats can be infected with coronavirus.

However, dogs from self-isolating households should not be let off the lead while in public and people exercising their pets should follow social distancing measures.

Rural Affairs Minister Mairi Gougeon MSP said: “Guidance should be followed by all animal owners to help prevent the spread of this virus. We will continue to review these guidelines regularly.

“If your household is self-isolating, take time to plan how you will exercise your pet, ensuring that you avoid all contact with other members of the public.

“If you are too unwell to care for your pet and do not have anyone nearby who can help, please phone the Scottish SPCA animal helpline for further advice and support.

“As everyone must observe social distancing rules, all animal owners should take time to consider suitable areas to walk or exercise their pets, avoiding contact with other people.

“Livestock owners who are concerned about how to care for their animals can contact the Royal Scottish Agricultural Benevolent Institution (RSABI) for help and advice.”

More on:

NHS staff get Aldi priority access as Lidl donate food

All NHS, police and fire service workers are to be given priority access to Aldi stores.

Supermarkets: Thank you to NHS.

All NHS, police and fire service workers have been given priority access to Aldi stores around the clock, the supermarket has announced.

And Lidl will donate thousands of fresh fruit and vegetable bags to NHS staff.

All emergency service workers will have priority access to Aldi stores from Saturday.

It means where shop workers are limiting the number of customers, any emergency worker with a relevant form of ID will be allowed to enter as soon as social distancing guidelines permit.

Earlier this week, Aldi announced that it would be opening half an hour early on Sunday morning solely for key workers as a thank you to NHS staff, Police and the Fire Service.

In an initiative run in partnership with the Royal Voluntary Service, the fruit and veg bags from Lidl will be distributed to frontline NHS staff at hospital sites across the country over the weekend.

Christian Härtnagel, CEO at Lidl GB, said: “We are so grateful to the NHS and all of its staff for their hard work every day to help keep the nation safe.

“This is our small gesture to say thank you, and help provide NHS staff, who may not be able to get into store regularly for basic groceries, with fresh fruit and vegetables.

“We hope that through working with Royal Voluntary service to donate these bags to hospitals, we can help make a difference to their daily life.”

The news follows Lidl’s recent announcement that it will be rolling out its customer food donation boxes in stores nationwide, as part of its Feed it Back scheme, and donating £100,000 to its partnership with Neighbourly, to help vulnerable people and children. 

Meanwhile other supermarkets have been bringing in a range of measures to combat the coronavirus pandemic and support staff.

Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Asda, Waitrose and Iceland all announced priority access for NHS staff earlier in the week.

And Morrisons installed new protective screens at all store checkouts.

Teen coughed on health worker and said she had coronavirus

A teenage boy coughed in the woman's face and told her she had coronavirus.

Appeal: Police are looking for witnesses.

Police are hunting a teenager who assaulted a health worker by deliberately coughing on her and telling her she had coronavirus in Banchory.

The woman was driving along the unclassified road between Inchmarlo Golf Course to Brathen Wood on Friday when she noticed the boy sitting on the ground and waving to attract her attention.

When she stopped the car he ran up to her and coughed in her face before laughing and saying she now had the virus.

The youth then ran off into the woods where he is believed to have joined a group of others.

The incident took place at around 1.40pm.

Police are now looking to trace the suspect who is described as being around 5ft6 and aged between 13 and 16-years-old with a slim build and a local accent.

He was wearing a light grey hoodie, a black jacket and black or dark blue joggers.

Police say the incident is being treated as assault.

Sergeant Garry Garrow, of Banchory Police Station, said: “This kind of behaviour is totally unacceptable and will not be tolerated. It left the woman distressed and fearful.

“I am appealing to anyone who saw what happened to get in touch, particularly if they saw this youth before or after the assault, or know who he is.

“I would also ask parents to remind their children that this kind of behaviour is more than just a prank, it can cause genuine fear and increased anxiety in the current climate.

“Officers will not tolerate anyone behaving like this and take robust action to find those responsible.”

A spokesman for the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service said: “Scotland’s prosecution service will take action to protect public safety at all times and has a range of responses available to tackle unacceptable criminal conduct that may arise during the coronavirus pandemic.

“Any person who deliberately endangers life, or spreads fear and alarm by pretending to do so, will be dealt with robustly.

“It is difficult to imagine a more compelling case for prosecution in the public interest.

“The Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service is working closely with Police Scotland to ensure continued effective investigation and prosecution of crime that places public safety as a priority.”

Anyone with information that can assist with enquiries is asked to call Police Scotland on 101.

You're up to date

You've read today's top stories. Where would you like to go next?