Follow along here to stay up-to-date with the latest developments on Wednesday, March 10.
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Coronavirus in Scotland LIVE: The latest updates on Wednesday, March 10
Last updated: Wednesday, 10 March, 2021, 11:40
- Restrictions on outdoor meeting to ease from Friday
- 20 Covid deaths in Scotland reported on Wednesday
- A further 691 new coronavirus cases recorded
Restrictions on outdoor meeting to ease from Friday, Sturgeon announces
Rules on outdoor meeting in Scotland will ease from Friday, Nicola Sturgeon has announced.
Updating MSPs at the Scottish Parliament in the latest lockdown review, she said up to four adults from two households will be able to meet outside then.
Currently, coronavirus regulations restrict meetings to two adults from two households for essential exercise.
The First Minister also announced a relaxation in rules for those aged 12 to 17 meeting outside, who can meet in groups of up to four from up to four households from Friday.
Outdoor meetings will be allowed for social and recreational purposes, as well as essential exercise.
Outdoor, non-contact sports for adults in groups of up to 15 can restart from the same date.
Possible new case of Brazilian P1 Covid-19 variant identified in Scotland
A possible case of a new strain of coronavirus has been identified in Scotland – though Nicola Sturgeon stressed this was not linked to three earlier cases of the so-called P1 strain on the virus.
The First Minister was also clear that there was “no indication of onward community transmission of this variant”.
As a result she said the authorities “currently have no reason to believe that this case presents any risk to the wider community”.
Further tests are being done to confirm the genomic sequencing of the case.
But concerns have already been raised that the P1 strain of the virus, first detected in the Brazilian city of Manaus, could be more contagious than the current dominant strain, with uncertainty also about how it responds to vaccines.
The suspected new case was identified in a person who flew to Scotland from Rio de Janeiro, via Paris, arriving in the country on February 19.
Ms Sturgeon said there were 22 passengers and cabin crew on the flight into Scotland, with 11 passengers – including the person in question – going into “managed quarantine” on arrival.
Other passengers, who self isolated at home, are now being contacted by Public Health Scotland and offered advice.
Scots aim to be kinder and spend more time outdoors when pandemic ends – study
Scots want to see their lives and communities improved after the coronavirus pandemic with new research finding public priorities include being kinder and supporting nature.
New research found more than three quarters (77%) were helping their neighbours, while 71% of people said they had been helped by friends or family.
The study, carried out for the David Hume Institute think tank also found almost seven out of 10 (68%) gave to charity.
Meanwhile, more than a third (36%) of Scots said they had spent more time out of doors in nature during 2020, and 58% plan to spend more time outside in the future, with just over a quarter (26%) intending to walk or cycle more.
And 11% said the change they would most like to see as a result of the pandemic is more people shopping locally and supporting local businesses.
Susan Murray, director of the David Hume Institute, said the research “clearly shows that people want their lives and communities to be different”.
She added: “The pandemic has focussed people’s minds on what is important to them.
“People told us their priorities are being kinder, supporting nature and climate change, and making conscious choices with money. People have realised where they choose to spend money makes a difference to others.”
Scottish budget to ‘help put country on road to recovery’ passes
The Scottish Government’s tax and spending plans have been backed by MSPs after deals were reached with the Greens and the Lib Dems.
The £46.5 billion Bill passed at stage three by 70 votes to 53.
In the past two days, Finance Secretary Kate Forbes has reached deals with the opposition parties, making this budget the fifth in a row to be supported by the Scottish Greens.
Before the deals were struck, the budget pledged to extend 100% rates relief, record funding of £16 billion for the NHS and more than £145 million to tackle drug and alcohol addiction.
In order to secure the Greens support for the fifth year in a row, the Scottish Government has pledged to extend the concessionary travel scheme – announced as part of last year’s budget deal and due to come into force this year – to anyone under 22 years old.
Ms Forbes has also agreed to pay rises for public sector workers, amounting to £800, or around 4%, for those earning under £25,000, 2% for those between £25,000 and £49,000 and 1% above that.
The Greens also secured Covid-19 relief payments of up to £130 for low-income families as well as two further instalments of £100 each in August and December for families with children eligible for free school meals.
All primary school pupils in Scotland will also be able to claim free school meals during term time, under the new plans, and £40 million will be invested in active travel, energy efficiency and other environmental efforts.
Lego cheers fastest growth in five years amid pandemic sales boost
Danish toy giant Lego has revealed its fastest growth for five years thanks to soaring demand from locked-down families during the pandemic.
The group reported a 19% jump in operating profits to 12.9 billion Danish kroner (£1.5 billion) for 2020 as revenues rose 13% to 43.7 billion Danish kroner (£5 billion) and consumer sales soared 21%.
It saw strong online sales as shops worldwide were forced to close amid coronavirus lockdowns and restrictions and with parents seeking to entertain their children in lengthy periods of lockdown.
It also hailed last year’s launch of the Super Mario sets, which blend physical bricks with digital games, as one of its most successful ever.
Lego said it will ramp up investment in similar sets during 2021, starting with this month’s release of Lego VIDIYO – a partnership with Universal Music, which allows children to make their own music videos with special effects and filters.
Lego group chief executive Niels Christiansen said: “For the past two years we’ve made large-scale investments in initiatives designed to support long-term growth.
More than one in four university students feel lonely often or always – ONS
More than one in four university students have said they feel lonely often or always, a report suggests.
Loneliness is more pronounced among younger students, with a third reporting that they feel lonely frequently, according to an Office for National Statistics (ONS) survey.
The poll, of more than 2,700 students in February and March, suggests that more than four in five (85%) are currently living at the same address as they were at the start of the autumn term.
It found that 26% of students reported feeling lonely often or always, compared with 8% of the adult population in Great Britain over a similar period.
Among students aged between 16 and 29, one in three (33%) said they feel lonely often or always, compared with only 12% of the overall population in the same age bracket in Great Britain.