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Nicola Sturgeon coronavirus briefing LIVE: First Minster gives update on Covid-19 in Scotland

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 Wednesday, March 17.

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Last updated: Wednesday, 17 March, 2021, 12:34

  • Scotland records 12 deaths and 625 new cases on Wednesday
  • Nicola Sturgeon sets out timetable for easing of lockdown
  • Stay-at-home order in Scotland to be removed on April 2

Scotland will establish a new genomic sequencing service to identify different variants of coronavirus, Nicola Sturgeon has said.

As part of the new testing strategy, to be announced in Holyrood on Wednesday afternoon, £13 million will be invested in a new sequencing centre over the next year, with the centre being able to sequence up to 1,000 samples per day, the First Minister told the coronavirus briefing.

“That’s going to be really important in the next phase of the pandemic, helping us identify new variants at as early a stage as possible so that we can try, where those variants are of concern, to make as sure as we can that they don’t get a foothold into the community and start to spread more widely.”

The First Minister said the centre would also be used in the future for any other pandemics or similar public health crises.

NS: “By the middle of April, we still expect to offer a first dose of the vaccine to everybody over 50, all unpaid carers, and all adults with particular underlying health conditions.”

Almost 49,300 vaccinations carried out on Tuesday

Scotland records 12 deaths and 625 new cases on Wednesday

Scotland has recorded 12 deaths from coronavirus and 625 positive tests in the past 24 hours, Nicola Sturgeon has confirmed.

It brings the death toll under this measure – of people who first tested positive for the virus within the previous 28 days – to 7,529.

Speaking at the Scottish Government’s coronavirus briefing, the First Minister said 211,230 people have now tested positive in Scotland, up from 210,605 on Tuesday.

The daily test positivity rate is 3%, down from 3.8% on the previous day.

There are 422 people in hospital confirmed to have the virus, down 18 in 24 hours, and 38 patients are in intensive care, a fall of four.

NS: “All of this provides further evidence of the effectiveness of the vaccination programme and is obviously very positive.”

NS: “The continued decline in deaths is welcome. They have now fallen by more than three quarters since the third week of January. This week is the first in a long time that the number of deaths has been below the five-year average for this time of year.”

The total number of positive cases in Scotland is now 211,230.

Test positivity rate at 3%

Scotland records 12 deaths and 625 new Covid cases on Wednesday

Boris Johnson’s former chief adviser Dominic Cummings has said the UK Government was unable to make rapid decisions on science funding at the start of the pandemic.

Sheriff courts set to reopen from April 19 as Covid cases subside

The court system in Scotland is set to fully reopen following a reduction in Covid-19 transmission levels.

Due to the latest lockdown, criminal courts have focused on the most serious trials since January, with the majority of summary trials in sheriff and Justice of the Peace courts adjourned.

Lord Calloway, the Lord President, Scotland’s most senior judge, has announced that due to the vaccine rollout and the reduction of coronavirus cases, the courts can cautiously begin to ease the current restrictions.

From April 19, sheriff court cases will restart, and summary trial courts will return to their pre-January loads of three trials scheduled, with two backup cases.

From June 7, Justice of the Peace courts will restart all business.

All criminal jury trials in the High Court and sheriff court will continue as planned. All new custody cases and summary custody trials in the sheriff courts and Justice of the Peace courts will continue to be heard.

All High Court criminal and civil appeals and tribunals will continue to operate virtually and remotely, as they have been doing throughout the pandemic.

Court rooms will continue to have social distancing and face covering measures in place.

Witnesses cited to attend the sheriff court for a summary criminal trial before April 19 should not attend unless they are contacted directly by the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS) or the solicitor acting for the accused.

After April 19, witnesses should attend as per their citations.

Remote jury centres will continue to be in operation, as they have been since last year.

Latest National Records of Scotland figures released

A total of 9,831 people have died in Scotland with confirmed or suspected coronavirus, according to the National Records of Scotland (NRS).

The figures show 104 deaths relating to Covid-19 were registered between March 8 and March 14, down 38 on the previous week.

Of these, the majority – 83% – happened in hospital at 86, with 14 in care homes and four at home or in a non-institutional setting.

The statistics are published weekly and cover all deaths registered in Scotland where Covid-19 was mentioned on the death certificate.

They differ from the lab-confirmed coronavirus deaths announced daily by the Scottish Government because the NRS figures include suspected or probable cases of Covid-19.

City centres and regions to get £4 million to aid Covid-19 recovery

Two new funds totalling £4 million to help city centres and regions recover from Covid-19 have been announced by the Scottish Government.

City local authorities in Scotland have been invited to submit a proposal to aid its recovery from the pandemic for a share of the £2 million City Centres Recovery Fund.

Applications for funding to help businesses apply for outdoor trading areas in Glasgow and for the repurposing of empty buildings in Dundee city centre are among those already received, the Scottish Government has said.

A further £2 million will also be available through the Regional Recovery Fund, which aims to maximise local job creation and accelerate the fulfilment of city and regional growth deals, which have been signed across the country.

The funds were announced by Economy Secretary Fiona Hyslop ahead of the first meeting of the city centre recovery task force, set up to inform government policy as restrictions as a result of the pandemic are eased.

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www.scotsman.com

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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