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Coronavirus in Scotland LIVE: Nicola Sturgeon says new virus variant accounts for 50% of positive cases

Live updates on Covid-19 in Scotland, the UK, and around the world.

The latest updates on Covid-19 in Scotland and around the world.
The latest updates on Covid-19 in Scotland and around the world.

Follow along here to stay up-to-date with the latest developments on Tuesday.

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Last updated: Tuesday, 05 January, 2021, 13:53

  • Mainland Scotland back in lockdown in bid to tackle new Covid strain
  • Fire stations piloted as new sites for Covid-19 testing
  • 2,529 new coronavirus cases reported on Tuesday
  • 11 additional Covid deaths registered in past 24 hours
  • A&E attendances down by almost 3,000 over Christmas week

Top judge urges court users to follow coronavirus rules so justice can continue

Scotland’s most senior judge has urged people entering court buildings to follow coronavirus rules to ensure that the administration of justice can continue safely.

With mainland Scotland now in lockdown the Lord President, Lord Carloway, said he is determined to ensure that everything is done to keep courts and tribunals operating effectively and safely.

He said he is aware there been “lapses, perhaps inadvertent”, by some of those coming to court, where people must wear face coverings when moving around the building and follow social distancing measures.

And he warned that he and judicial colleagues across the country will take any continued breaches “very seriously indeed”.

Step up to the challenge in aid of the Prince’s Trust – say Steps

Pop group Steps have stepped up to the challenge to help get the nation walking for a Prince’s Trust fundraising campaign.

The singers have called on people to stay positive during the pandemic as they gave their backing to the Trust’s Future Steps project – a daily target of 10,000 steps to raise vital funds for the charity during February.

The charity continues to help young people develop the confidence and skills they need to move into work, education and training against a backdrop of rising unemployment brought on by the pandemic.

Steps endorsed the campaign in a post on their Instagram account and band member H said: “It’s been a really tough year for everyone, with the pandemic affecting pretty much every aspect of daily life.

“It’s so important to stay upbeat at times like this and we’d love to see people bringing their positivity to social media by having a go at our challenge.”

Health minister warns of effect of ‘subcontinental eating habits’ on Covid fight

The eating habits of some people from the subcontinent has left them in “no good state” to fight coronavirus, a health minister has warned.

Lord Bethell told the Lords that many people from rural communities on the subcontinent had brought with them “eating habits” which were not “appropriate for modern life”.

At question time, he said this had been shown up by the “challenging incidents” of Covid-19 in such communities and told peers that tackling the problem was extremely complex.

Lord Bethell was responding to independent crossbencher Lord Singh of Wimbledon in a question about tackling obesity.

Lord Singh said the Sikh community had for some years run lectures and health checks in gurdwaras to “reduce a calorie-rich diet of those from rural communities to one more suitable for more sedentary occupations in the UK”.

Many long Covid patients unable to work half a year later – study

Many patients with long Covid have been unable to return properly to work six months after infection, a study suggests.

New research examined the impact on people months after their initial infection.

While some seemingly return to normal health, others are left with debilitating fatigue and so-called “brain fog” among other symptoms.

The study, which has not yet been peer-reviewed, examined symptoms as well as other factors.

Researchers from Patient-Led Research for Covid-19 conducted a survey of more than 3,700 long Covid patients from 56 different countries.

A third were in their 40s, 27% in their 50s and 26% were aged 30 to 39. The majority of respondents (79%) were women.

Just 8% were admitted to hospital for their Covid symptoms and only a quarter reported a lab-confirmed case of Covid-19.

Most (96%) reported that their symptoms lasted more than 90 days.

The First Minister again said the “most difficult” of the new restrictions was the closure of schools to all but the children of key workers and vulnerable youngsters.

Nicola Sturgeon said this would be “tough” for pupils and parents, adding that the Scottish Government was “thinking about what more support we can put in place to help you during this difficult period”.

She said pupils would return to school “as soon as it safe to do so”, with the situation to be reviewed fortnightly.

But she the faster-spreading strain of the virus, and the “uncertainty” about its impact on young people, meant it was “not safe enough at the moment to have schools open for the majority of pupils as normal”.

Ms Sturgeon accepted the new restrictions were “really tough”.

But she stressed: “The current figures tell us action is needed. This new variant is so much more easily transmitted. Without these tougher restrictions cases in Scotland would definitely continue to rise very, very sharply.”

The First Minister said this could present the “real risk” that the NHS, which she said was “currently coping”, would be “overwhelmed, perhaps quite quickly”.

She added: “By acting now, instead of waiting til things get more severe, we give ourselves the chance to avert the more serious challenge currently being faced in some other parts of the UK right now.”

Coronavirus in Scotland: 322 new cases recorded in Lothians as new variant responsible for half of reported cases

Nicola Sturgeon, giving her regular coronavirus briefing, said the key message was people should stay at home.

“Fundamentally I am asking everybody to really try hard to stay at home as much as possible, and only leave home if it is for a genuinely essential purpose,” she said.

With the new strain of coronavirus spreading more easily, the First Minister said it had been necessary to tighten up restrictions on meeting outdoors, so that now only two people from two households can meet – where previously the limit had been six people from two households.

She accepted the move to shut places of worship for everything apart from weddings, funerals and broadcasting services was “very distressing” for many.

“I know people in faith communities take great comfort from collective worship, this is is a particularly hard restriction to bear.

“But we do deem it essential at the moment to help us with that overall task of getting the virus back under control.”

She also pledged: “We will not keep these restrictions in place for any loner than necessary.”

Nicola Sturgeon spoke as mainland Scotland entered a second national lockdown.

“The current situation we face now in the pandemic is in my view more serious than it has been at any time since the spring,” the First Minister said.

“That is because this new, more transmissible variant of Covid is becoming increasingly common, and as a result of that cases are rising much more steeply and rapidly than they had been in the latter part of last year.”

With two vaccines now approved for use in the fight against the virus, the Scottish Government will do everything it can to ensure people get these “as quickly as possible” Ms Sturgeon added.

But she added “because this new variant is spreading so much more quickly” it was important also to act to try to slow down the spread of coronavirus.

Coronavirus in Scotland: A further 2,529 new Covid-19 cases reported as new variant responsible for half of reported cases

Scotland has recorded 11 deaths of coronavirus patients and 2,529 new cases in the past 24 hours, Nicola Sturgeon has said.

The death toll under this measure – of people who first tested positive for the virus within the previous 28 days – is now 4,633.

The First Minister told the Scottish Government’s coronavirus briefing the daily test positivity rate is 14.8%, down from 15% on Monday, when 1,905 cases were recorded.

A total of 139,027 people have tested positive in Scotland, with around half of the new cases thought to be the new variant, a proportion which Ms Sturgeon said is “rising”.

There are 1,347 people in hospital confirmed to have Covid-19, a rise of 255 in a week.

Of these patients, 93 are in intensive care, an increase of 28 in the same period.

Nicola Sturgeon LIVE: 2,529 new Covid-19 cases recorded in past 24 hours – and 11 additional deaths registered

Nicola Sturgeon coronavirus briefing: What time is the First Minister’s update? How can I watch?

Nicola Sturgeon: ‘I can’t be definitive about when restrictions will be lifted’

A&E attendances down by almost 3,000 over Christmas week

A&E attendances dropped by almost 3,000 in the week over Christmas to the lowest level since mid-May.

The latest NHS Scotland statistics reveal that there were 16,452 A&E attendances during the week ending December 27.

Of those, 87.3% were seen and subsequently admitted, transferred or discharged within four hours – up from 82.5% the week before.

A total of 251 patients had to wait more than eight hours to be seen, while 53 patients were left waiting for more than 12 hours.

Compared to the previous week, the number of people visiting A&E dropped by 2,979.

The last time A&E attendances were lower were during the week ending May 17, when 16,351 patients were seen.

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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