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Coronavirus in Scotland LIVE: Animal welfare charity centres across country ‘have hit capacity as a result of pandemic’

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The latest updates on Covid-19 in Scotland.
The latest updates on Covid-19 in Scotland.

Last updated: Monday, 29 March, 2021, 06:50

  • Animal welfare centres at capacity as result of pandemic
  • Scotland records no Covid deaths on Sunday
  • 422 new Covid cases reported in Scotland

Belfast’s SSE Arena opens as mass vaccination centre

One of Northern Ireland’s largest live events arenas will open as a mass vaccination centre later.

The SSE Arena in Belfast will have the capacity to administer jabs to 40,000 people a week.

A slowdown in the UK’s vaccine supply lines will see the centre processing around 11,000 people a week initially, with the numbers ramping up as more AstraZeneca jabs become available.

The arena floor has the capacity for 60 separate vaccine stations.

It is operating as a mass vaccination site for the whole of Northern Ireland.

Six regional centres will continue to administer vaccines, as will GP surgeries.

From Monday, more than 300 community pharmacies will also become involved in the vaccine rollout.

The SSE Arena is the home of the Belfast Giants ice hockey team, and prior to the pandemic was the region’s main venue for indoor concerts.

Its opening as a mass vaccine centre was originally expected to be accompanied by an expansion of the vaccination programme to take in the 40-49 age cohort.

Wetherspoon boss says vaccine passports would be ‘the last straw’ for pubs

Wetherspoon boss Tim Martin has said vaccine passports would be “the last straw” for struggling pubs and force bar staff into a “bitter civil liberties war” with customers.

Conservative backbenchers, publicans and some scientists have raised concerns over the possible introduction of coronavirus health certificates as England’s lockdown is eased.

Ministers are studying their potential use, which could see access to venues granted only if customers have been jabbed, received negative tests, or developed antibodies through past infection.

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden argued on Sunday that vaccine passports will not be introduced on a “permanent basis” but they could be a beneficial tool to restart safely in the short-term.

But, writing in the Telegraph, Mr Martin said “there is no justification for a passport system”.

The chairman of the pub chain said: “For many pubs, hanging on for dear life and devastated by G-force changes of direction, a complex and controversial passport scheme would be the last straw.

“It would inevitably put pub staff in the frontline of a bitter civil liberties war, with some customers unwilling to be vaccinated or unable to have a jab for medical reasons.”

Animal welfare charity centres ‘have hit capacity as a result of pandemic’

An animal welfare charity has said its centres across Scotland have hit capacity as a result of the fallout from the coronavirus pandemic.

The Scottish SPCA says it has recorded an increase in the number of calls to its helpline about unwanted animals, with more than 136,000 calls received in 2020.

Its frontline team attended an average 214 incidents each day – nearly 78,000 across the year – with 3,369 animals rehomed and more than 7,000 others admitted to the National Wildlife Rescue Centre.

A rise in demand for puppies has also led to an increase in the number of raids and seizures of dogs from low-welfare puppy farms and dealers.

Chief superintendent Mike Flynn said: “In many cases, neglect is not deliberate. Even people who love their animals can find themselves in a position where they are unable to continue to provide them with the care they need.

“This could be a change in personal circumstance or an accident. The decision can be heartbreaking but ultimately it is the right one for the welfare of that animal. It is admirable to put an animal’s needs first.

“Our centres have hit capacity and we desperately need the support of the animal loving Scottish public so that they don’t let animals suffer.

“We will continue to be here for every person and animal that need us in all communities across Scotland.

“Every single person who signs up to support us with a monthly donation will be making an impact and will allow us to rescue animals.”

The Scotsman

The Scotsman is a Scottish compact newspaper and daily news website headquartered in Edinburgh. First established as a radical political paper in 1817, it began daily publication in 1855 and remained a broadsheet until August 2004. Its parent company, JPIMedia, also publishes the Edinburgh Evening News.

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