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Coronavirus in Scotland RECAP: Nicola Sturgeon says there is ‘compelling evidence’ that jabs are reducing deaths

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

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

Follow along here to stay up-to-date with the latest developments on Thursday, February 18.

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Last updated: Thursday, 18 February, 2021, 13:19

‘Vaccine laziness’ could be issue for younger age groups, says Leitch

Vaccine “laziness” could be a problem among younger people when the inoculation programme reaches their age groups, according to Scotland’s national clinical director.

Jason Leitch said he had been speaking to his counterparts in Israel, which is leading the world in progress with vaccinating its population.

He said that laziness, as opposed to traditional “anti-vaxx” sentiment, was emerging as a cause of slow uptake as programmes moved into younger age groups.

One method of combating this, Professor Leitch suggested, was getting trusted voices on TikTok to share vaccine information.

MSP John Mason had asked about Israel’s experience with the programme, where demand for the jabs among younger people has lagged despite drop-in vaccine centres being open in the middle of cities.

Prof Leitch told Holyrood’s Covid-19 Committee: “They’re the only large country ahead of the UK in terms of percentages of the population vaccinated. They’ve really had an excellent programme

“There is global evidence that as you move down through age groups, people are more vaccine hesitant.

“It’s partly vaccine laziness rather than an actual intellectual approach to it.

“It’s about making it easy for people and finding those individuals.”

Prof Leitch said there was a distinction between people who were vaccine hesitant – and may have genuine questions – and anti-vaccine sentiment.

He said the latest expert thinking was “don’t fight the anti-vaccine advice, just surround every demographic with the correct evidence and advice”.

The Scottish Government would take this approach with younger age groups, he said.

Prof Leitch said: “We’ll use all the third-sector organisations you would expect.

“It won’t be me on TikTok, it will be people they recognise.”

He stressed that vaccine uptake had been very high for the groups the UK has targeted so far, nearing 100% in some cases, meaning “big, big, numbers” could be achieved in the younger age groups.

Coronavirus in Scotland: Nicola Sturgeon confirms 57 new Covid-19 deaths

The Scottish Government will be able to publish more vaccination data than before following discussions with the UK Government and vaccine providers.

Previously, the UK Government had asked ministers not to publish data over security concerns.

Speaking at the briefing in Edinburgh on Thursday, the First Minister said: “As a result, the Scottish Government is publishing information today about the supplies we’ve received so far and from next week onwards will publish this data initially on a weekly basis.”

The data will be released on a Tuesday and will give information of vaccinations available until the previous Sunday.

She added: “We hope that regular publication of this data will be helpful to the media and to the public because it will give a fuller picture of the supplies we are receiving each week and will then allow for a better understanding and indeed closer scrutiny of the progress of the vaccination programme.”

Scotland has recorded 57 deaths from coronavirus and 685 positive tests in the past 24 hours, Nicola Sturgeon has said.

It brings the death toll under this measure – of people who first tested positive for the virus within the previous 28 days – to 6,885.

Speaking at the Scottish Government coronavirus briefing, Ms Sturgeon said 194,954 people have tested positive in Scotland, up from 194,269 the previous day.

The daily test positivity rate is 3.8%, down from 5.2%.

There are 1,261 people in hospital confirmed to have the virus, down 56 in 24 hours, and 95 patients are in intensive care, down four.

She said by 8.30am on Thursday a total of 1,354,966 Scots had received their first dose of the coronavirus vaccine – an increase of 34,892 from the previous day.

Nicola Sturgeon briefing LIVE: 685 new coronavirus cases reported on Thursday – and 57 additional deaths registered.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon will hold a virtual coronavirus briefing at 12.15pm with chief nursing officer Fiona McQueen.

Barclays delivers dividend payout and staff bonuses despite profits tumble

Banking giant Barclays has seen annual profits almost halve after setting aside a mammoth £4.8 billion for loan losses due to the pandemic.

The group reported a 48% plunge in underlying pre-tax profits, excluding litigation and conduct charges, to £3.2 billion for 2020.

Statutory profits fell 30% to £3.1 billion.

But Barclays unveiled a shareholder dividend payout despite the profits hit, as well as a £1.6 billion bonus pool for staff and £1.4 million in annual bonuses and incentive shares for boss Jes Staley.

Its results revealed another £492 million set aside for expected borrower defaults due to the Covid-19 crisis in the final three months of the year, though this was down nearly a fifth on the previous quarter.

Barclays warned that costs related to the pandemic will remain high throughout 2021, but that it expects loan loss charges to be “materially below” last year’s £4.8 billion hit.

It added that investment banking trading offset the impact on its retail arm, with its “best ever year” for markets and banking income helping keep the group in profit every quarter.

Government urged to set up long Covid compensation scheme for frontline workers

The UK Government has been urged to launch a compensation scheme for frontline workers who are suffering from the long-term effects of coronavirus.

The All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Coronavirus said Prime Minister Boris Johnson should recognise long Covid as an occupational disease, saying some sufferers have found it hard to return to work.

Symptoms of long Covid include ongoing fatigue, loss of taste or smell, and respiratory and cardiovascular problems, and this week Professor Danny Altmann, from Imperial College London, said up to 20% of patients are reporting symptoms of the disease weeks after becoming ill.

APPG chairwoman Layla Moran said: “Long Covid is the hidden health crisis of the pandemic, and it is likely to have an enormous impact on society for many years to come.

“When it comes to frontline NHS, care and key workers, they were specifically asked to go to work and save lives while everyone else was asked to stay at home.

“They were exposed to an increased level of risk of catching the virus, often without adequate levels of PPE.”

The group wants the Government to follow France, Germany, Belgium and Denmark, which have formally recognised Covid as an “occupational disease”.

Streaming could help drive UK music exports to £1bn within decade

The global growth in streaming could help push UK music exports to more than £1 billion a year by 2030, according to a new report.

Record labels association the BPI said streaming offers a “huge opportunity” for expansion overseas in the post-Brexit landscape.

However, it said backing from the Government is essential, and called for support in the promotion of UK artists and music abroad.

British recorded music exports reached £489 million in 2019, up from £211 million in 2010.

As emerging markets adopt streaming, global revenues from recorded music are forecast to rise to almost 40 billion US dollars (£29 billion) by 2030.

If exports continue their growth rate as the market expands, they will pass the £1 billion mark over the same period – more than double today’s level.

In a report, titled All Around The World, the BPI urges support for a doubling of the Music Export Growth Scheme grant support, which promotes artists signed to independent labels internationally, as well as incentives for music production in the UK and higher standards of copyright and enforcement in key export markets.

Alongside established markets such as Europe, North America and Australasia, where UK music has long been popular, the report identifies Asia, South America, Africa and the Middle East as opportunities.

21% of Covid patients with diabetes ‘die within 28 days of hospital admission’

One in five diabetes patients admitted to hospital with Covid-19 die within 28 days, research suggests.

Results from an ongoing study by the University of Nantes in France also showed that one in eight diabetes patients admitted to hospital with coronavirus were still in hospital 28 days after they first arrived.

Diabetes UK said understanding which people with the condition are at a higher risk if they are admitted to hospital with Covid-19 will help to improve care and save lives.

The findings show that within 28 days of being in hospital 577 of the 2,796 patients studied (21%) had died, while almost 50% (1,404) had been discharged from hospital, with a typical stay of nine days.

Around 12% remained in hospital at day 28, while 17% had been transferred to a different facility to their initial hospital.

Government urged to define Covid-19 strategy for this year

A panel of Scots has told the Government to define its strategy to tackle Covid-19 in 2021, as they advise an “elimination” plan would be best.

The broadly representative group of 19 people were convened by Holyrood’s Covid-19 Committee in response to the pace of regulations being brought in by the Scottish Government.

Following four sessions, the group has drafted a report with a number of recommendations before some members appear at the committee.

Chief among the recommendations is transparency on the Scottish Government’s plans for tackling the virus this year.

On Tuesday, Nicola Sturgeon said she hopes a new road map out of lockdown will be published next week.

Covid-19 Committee convener Donald Cameron said: “The committee is very grateful to the members of the public and experts who gave their time to participate in deliberations.

“The steps taken to counter this virus are so drastic they would have been unimaginable a year ago. It is therefore vital we gauge the public mood as we enter into the next phase of managing the pandemic.

“The considered priorities of this broadly representative group, who have looked at the issue with fresh eyes, will help inform us as we begin to look at the likely extension of the emergency powers, and work to ensure the efforts of Government are focused in the right place.

“We are looking forward to hearing more from panel members, and testing their conclusions, at our next meeting.”

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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