Temporary coronavirus hospital hasn’t been needed yet

Emergency hospital has so far not been called upon during coronavirus pandemic.

No admissions: NHS Louisa Jordan in Glasgow. SNS
No admissions: NHS Louisa Jordan in Glasgow.

Temporary hospital NHS Louisa Jordan has not yet admitted any patients since the beginning of the coronavirus outbreak.

The emergency hospital at the Scottish Events Campus in Glasgow has been ready since April 20, with an initial capacity for 300 patients, having been built in less than three weeks.

However, Nicola Sturgeon confirmed the £43m facility has so far not been needed during the pandemic.

The First Minister said it played an important contingency role in the event that other NHS hospitals become overwhelmed with Covid-19 cases.

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“Hindsight will always be a very valuable thing to have,” she said.

“We haven’t had to use NHS Louisa Jordan to treat patients so far and do you know what? I’m absolutely delighted about that.”

Sturgeon said use of the emergency hospital would indicate wards at other hospitals had exceeded capacity.

She added: “I am really happy we’ve not had to use the NHS Louisa Jordan but I’m still absolutely of the opinion it was right to prepare it as a contingency.”

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Health officials are now considering whether the emergency hospital can be used to restart procedures that were paused as a result of the crisis, she said.

The number of coronavirus patients in intensive care has been declining, with 59 confirmed or suspected cases in the units across Scotland on Tuesday.

The temporary hospital is named after Glasgow-born First World War nurse Sister Louisa Jordan, who died on active service in Serbia in 1915 as part of the Scottish Women’s Hospitals for Foreign Services.

Freeman ‘confident’ Test and Protect will be taken seriously

Under scheme households are told to stay at home as soon as anyone experiences symptoms and apply for a test.

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Coronavirus: Anyone testing positive will be asked to provide details of people they have been in close contact with.

Health secretary Jeane Freeman is confident people will take the Test and Protect scheme seriously and continue to follow lockdown rules with a “spirit of solidarity”.

It follows polling commissioned by the Scottish Government suggesting a large majority of the public supports the measures aimed at controlling the spread of coronavirus.

Under the test, trace and isolate scheme, households are told to stay at home as soon as anyone experiences symptoms and apply for a test on the NHS Inform website.

Ms Freeman said: “Test and Protect is an essential step in our response to Covid-19.

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“We are taking this step now because it’s the appropriate thing to do for this stage of the virus.

“As with lockdown, we need everyone to take this next step very seriously.

“They have done this so far and I am very confident they will step up to show the same spirit of solidarity and care for each other as before.”

Anyone testing positive for the virus will be asked to provide details of people they have been in close contact with to NHS contact tracers, who will then be asked to isolate for 14 days.

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A survey of 1037 adults across Scotland, carried out by YouGov for the Scottish Government, found 88% are willing to provide details of contacts if they develop coronavirus symptoms.

The same proportion also said they would want a test – if at all possible – if they develop symptoms.

Asked if they “understand the importance of testing to stop the spread of coronavirus”, 91% of respondents said they do.

The survey was carried out between May 19 and May 21, before both the introduction of the Test and Protect scheme and the controversy caused by the Prime Minister’s senior aide Dominic Cummings flouting lockdown guidance.

Speaking on Thursday after the First Minister announced an easing of lockdown, Scottish Conservative leader Jackson Carlaw said: “Nicola Sturgeon admitted to being nervous about this phase of the exit and no wonder.

“It will only work if testing is up to scratch, and so far that has not been the case.

“We still don’t really know what happened to the 2000 tracers who were meant to be in place by the end of the month, nor how long it will be until the system is in full swing.”

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Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard said: “We want to see the Test and Protect system work effectively in stopping the spread of Covid-19 but for there to be confidence in the system there must be assurances from the government that all the testing capacity available is fully used – this hasn’t been the case so far.”

Anyone with the symptoms of Covid-19 – a new continuous cough, temperature, loss or change in sense of taste or smell – can go online to nhsinform.scot to book a test.

People who cannot access the internet can also call 0800 028 2816.

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Diabetics make up almost 20% of Covid-19 hospital deaths

Almost a fifth of coronavirus-related deaths in hospitals across Scotland have been diabetics, according to figures.

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Nurses are being made to share equipment, one says.

Almost a fifth of coronavirus-related deaths in hospitals across Scotland have been diabetics, according to official figures.

The statistics have sparked calls for protection and guidelines for those with the condition as lockdown restrictions begin to ease.

It follows similar reports diabetics made up 30% of fatalities in hospitals south of the border.

Figures obtained by the PA news agency from the National Records of Scotland show 554 of those who died with Covid-19 mentioned on their death certificates up to May 24 also had diabetes.

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That is almost 15% of the 3779 total coronavirus deaths at that time.

Out of the 1760 people who died in hospital with the virus, 341 were diabetics – 19%.

Angela Mitchell, national director at Diabetes Scotland said: “The recent statistics underline the urgent need to ensure people with diabetes are protected and supported, especially as lockdown measures are eased.

“There must be assurances that people with diabetes should not be put in a situation that puts them at risk at work.

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“Employers must put measures in place to keep people with diabetes safe, either by supporting people to work at home or, where this is not possible, by putting people with diabetes on furlough or by putting measures in place to allow stringent social distancing for those key workers who absolutely must be at work.

“We need to make sure that the new Government workplace guidelines work for people with diabetes.”

The figures also show 10% of people who died in care homes had the condition – 175 out of 1749 – and diabetics made up 14% of those who died at home – 38 out of 264.

Both type one and type two diabetics are included in the numbers, without a breakdown.

The most recent Scottish Diabetic Survey shows there were more than 304,000 people with the condition in Scotland in 2018, making up 5.6% of the population.

A Scottish Government spokesman said: “We recognise the challenges faced on a daily basis by people living with diabetes.

“Specific support programmes are in place for people living with Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes.

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“We keep all clinical guidance under review and continue to work with our advisors – including a specific diabetes speciality advisor.

“If anyone with diabetes has any concerns about their condition, they should contact their GP or their diabetes clinical team.

“They will be able to provide specific advice and support based on their individual circumstances.”


What’s it like being pregnant during a pandemic?

Mums-to-be feeling even more concerned during what is already an anxious period of their life.

Pregnant women are in the ‘vulnerable’ category during the coronavirus pandemic.

That’s left many feeling even more concerned during what is already an anxious time in their life.

Scotland Tonight spoke with mum-to-be Lauren McNally about what she’s going through.

You can access the latest NHS advice for pregnant women and Covid-19 here: https://www.nhsinform.scot/illnesses-and-conditions/infections-and-poisoning/coronavirus-covid-19/parents-and-families/coronavirus-covid-19-pregnancy-and-newborn-babies


‘Extend Brexit talks or risk catastrophic hit to economy’

Former Tory MEP Struan Stevenson insisted it 'makes sense' to have longer for the transition talks.

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Stevenson has urged Johnson to extend deadline.

A former Tory MEP has urged Boris Johnson to extend the deadline for the Brexit transition period as he warned failing to secure a trade deal, combined with the impact of Covid-19, would be “catastrophic” for the economy.

Struan Stevenson, who was a Conservative representative at Brussels for 15 years, insisted it “makes sense” to have longer for the transition talks because economists are already predicting “a recession to end all recessions” following the coronavirus pandemic.

The UK has already formally left the European Union and negotiators on both sides have until the end of this year to agree a deal setting out their future relationship.

EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier confirmed earlier this week the bloc is “open” to a two-year Brexit delay – but his UK counterpart David Frost insisted the “firm policy” of the Government remains not to extend beyond the end of the year.

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Stevenson argued that “throwing a cliff-edge Brexit into the mix” as the economy faces the prospect of a coronavirus-related recession would be devastating.

Writing in The Herald newspaper, he urged Johnson: “Grant an extension to the Brexit deadline, Boris. You know it makes sense.

A decision on whether or not to seek an extension to the Brexit transition period must be made by July 1. It would surely be prudent and entirely understandable given the Covid-19 pandemic to ask for a six-month extension, even if that extension was ultimately found not to be needed?”

If no deal is agreed, the UK faces the prospect of reverting to World Trade Organisation rules, which could see tariffs imposed on businesses dealing with the EU.

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The ex-MEP added: “That would be a disaster for the Government, particularly when Northern Ireland, Scotland and London voted by a majority to remain in the EU.

“With the outlook for the economy at rock bottom, the prospects for the UK suffering a double whammy from economic recession caused by the coronavirus and a no-deal Brexit are looming large.

“The mountains of money thrown at the Covid-19 crisis will impact on Britain’s economic position for generations. Economists are predicting a recession to end all recessions.”

Adding a “disorderly Brexit” to this at the end of the year would “dent market confidence precisely when we need markets to rebound”, Stevenson added.

“Market stability is vital, as most British citizens are investors through their pensions. The poor, the elderly and disabled will be most at risk and leaving the EU with no deal will add to the country’s economic and social woes.

“We have all come through an international emergency and even the gloomiest forecasters know that economic recovery will eventually follow the decline. We must do nothing to jeopardise that recovery or add to the current misery.”


Jonny Hayes to leave Celtic after three seasons at Parkhead

The 32-year-old is coming to the end of his contract having made 67 appearances for the club.

SNS
Leaving: Jonny Hayes.

Jonny Hayes has announced he is leaving Celtic after three seasons at Parkhead.

The 32-year-old is coming to the end of his contract having made 67 appearances for the club since arriving from Aberdeen.

The Irishman wrote on his Instagram account: “From the lows of breaking a leg to the highs of winning a treble, the last three years have been an enjoyable journey, in which I’ve worked under some terrific staff and shared a dressing room with some unbelievable guys!

“Football at times brings tough decisions, so I’d like to thank you for all the support received along the way! Stay safe everyone!”

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The Republic of Ireland international proved a reliable servant, often deployed at left-back instead of his preferred position further forward.

Hayes’ Celtic team-mates past and present sent him their best wishes as they responded to his message.

Skipper Scott Brown said: “Going to miss you my man. What a man and what a player. Hard going in the dressing room to replace x.”

Former Hoops left-back Kieran Tierney added: “What a guy mate. Memories nobody can ever take away.”

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Mikael Lustig said: “Honestly the best teammate you can have! Top player and decent stories. Was a pleasure to sit next to you during our years together. All the best in the future my friend.” 

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Outdoor forestry operations to restart from next week

New guidance has been published setting out safe working procedures for Scotland's forestry sector.

Outdoor forestry operations can restart from next week.

New guidance has been published setting out safe working procedures for Scotland’s forestry sector in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Rural economy secretary Fergus Ewing said the documents contained “clear guidance to help a gradual and safe restart over time”.

With Scotland now in phase one of Nicola Sturgeon’s four-part plan for easing out of lockdown, outdoor forestry operations can restart from next week.

According to the guidance, some activities within the sector – such as travel to and from sites – will need additional control measures to enable social distancing, with enhanced hygiene regimes also required.

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It also highlights the need for the cleaning of shared equipment and welfare facilities on sites, and says only the minimum number of people needed for a task should be working.

Mr Ewing said the forestry sector had “already made a vital contribution to the current Covid-19 response”, with workers producing materials used in the building of emergency coronavirus hospitals set up throughout the UK, as well as the pallets necessary to transport food and medical supplies.

As Scotland moves out of lockdown the sector will be involved in the “green recovery” that ministers want to see, he added.

The guidance has been produced by the Scottish Government together with industry bodies Scottish Forestry, Forestry and Land Scotland, Confor, the Forest Industry Safety Accord and the Forestry Contracting Association, with unions and workers’ representatives also consulted.

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Mr Ewing said: “Easing out of lockdown will only be successful if we do so gradually and cautiously.

“The focus of the Scottish Government remains on tackling the virus, protecting public health and saving lives, but we are also acutely aware of the need to support vital sectors of the economy, such as forestry, to resume their activities safely.

“I welcome the fact that outdoor forestry operations can all now restart beginning next week, but it is vitally important that physical distancing is observed at all times to ensure this is done safely, and which reassures everyone that no-one’s health is put at unnecessary risk.”

Man charged in connection with deaths of two men

Emergency services were called to Balloan Road, Inverness, on Thursday at around 10pm.

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Police: Significant presence will remain in area.

A 23-year-old man has been charged after two men were found dead at a property in Inverness.

Emergency services were called to Balloan Road in the city on Thursday at around 10pm.

Two men, aged 28 and 35, were pronounced dead at the scene.

A 27-year-old woman was also found injured and was taken to Raigmore Hospital.

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The man is expected to appear at Inverness Sheriff Court on Monday in connection with the deaths and the injuries to the woman.

Detective Chief Inspector David Hadden said: “A significant police presence will remain in the area while inquiries continue and I would like to thank residents for their patience and co-operation during this time.”


Furloughed workers can return part-time from July 1

Chancellor Rishi Sunak also confirmed employers must start paying towards staff costs from August.

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Rishi Sunak: Chancellor gave update on furlough scheme.

Furloughed workers will be able to return to work part-time from July 1, the Chancellor has announced.

Giving the latest update on the UK Government’s job retention scheme, Rishi Sunak confirmed businesses must start paying towards their staff’s salaries from August – initially just 5% of it.

He also said a final self-employment coronavirus grant is to be made available for freelancers in August.

They will be able to claim up to £6570 from that date, giving those workers access to a total coronavirus grant of up to £14,070 each.

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Businesses will also have to start paying National Insurance and tax contributions for staff in August, ramping up to 10% of furloughed wages in September and 20% in October.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak had previously announced the plan to get businesses to contribute to the scheme but he laid out further details on Friday.

He also said workers can return part-time without losing any furlough payments from July – a month earlier than previously planned, following lobbying from businesses.

But businesses must start bearing the costs and from August all companies using the furlough scheme must start paying NI and employer pension contributions.

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In September and October, overall contributions from employers will rise to 10% and 20% respectively, the Chancellor added, but workers still furloughed will keep getting 80% of their wages up to £2500 a month.

The government will cover 70% of wages up to £2190 in September, the other 10% of wages paid with the employer, along with NI and pension contributions, making up 14% of the gross employment costs.

The following month, the Treasury will pick up 60% of wages up to a cap of £1875, with employers paying tax contributions and 20% of wages, representing 23% of the that worker’s costs.

The government added that only 40% of businesses had claimed the pension contributions since the furlough scheme was launched.

Companies can be flexible with their definition of “part-time” as long as a full-time employee has not returned to normal hours, say officials.

The Treasury said: “Individual firms will decide the hours and shift patterns their employees will work on their return, so that they can decide on the best approach for them – and will be responsible for paying their wages while in work.”

Since it was launched, the job retention initiative has been used by one million businesses to support 8.5m jobs in all four nations of the UK, at a cost of £15bn so far.

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The scheme is expected to cost a total of around £80bn, or £10bn a month, although the Office for Budget Responsibility is set to publish detailed costs next week.

Business groups had asked the UK Government to ensure that those industries suffering hardest were most protected.

But the Treasury said it was not always clear which sector a business was in, insisting it would not rule out future support if required.

The Chancellor said: “Now, as we begin to reopen our country and kick-start our economy, these schemes will adjust to ensure those who are able to work can do so, while remaining amongst the most generous in the world.”

Sunak had faced calls, including from a cross-party group of 113 MPs, to extend the scheme for self-employed workers, which has so far seen 2.3 million claims worth £6.8bn.

The new grant will be worth 70% of their average monthly trading profits, paid out in a single instalment covering three months’ worth of profits, and capped at £6570 in total.

To combat fraud, employees will be able to report any concerns to HM Revenue and Customs.

Scottish Premiership clubs can return to training in June

The SPFL has set a 'firm target' of starting the new top flight season on the weekend of August 1.

SNS
Scottish football: Training can resume for top flight clubs in June.

Scottish Premiership clubs have been given permission to return to training from June 11.

The SPFL has set a “firm target” of starting the new top-flight season on the weekend of August 1.

Competitive professional sport can only restart in Scotland once the country reaches phase two in its routemap out of coronavirus lockdown.

Talks are ongoing about restarting football in the lower leagues.

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Neil Doncaster, SPFL chief executive: “We are delighted that the Scottish Government have given the green light to the resumption of football training in June.

“We now have a firm target of starting the 2020/21 Premiership season on the weekend of August 1 and that’s a major step forward.

“We will continue working with the Championship, League 1 and League 2 to gauge their ability to start the season and if so, when – which may vary hugely between clubs.

“We clearly welcome the prospect of resuming matches, but we have to take all necessary steps to ensure we can have a sustainable league campaign.

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“That means a safety-first approach, with games initially played behind closed doors and a range of measures to protect players and staff.

“The return of crowds is something we all want to see and we will be working with clubs, government and medical professionals to return safely to playing in front of fans as soon as we can.”


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