Follow along here to stay up-to-date with the latest developments on Wednesday.
A message from the Editor:
Thank you for reading this article. We're more reliant on your support than ever as the shift in consumer habits brought about by coronavirus impacts our advertisers.
If you haven't already, please consider supporting our trusted, fact-checked journalism by taking out a digital subscription.
Coronavirus in Scotland LIVE: The latest updates on Wednesday
Last updated: Wednesday, 18 November, 2020, 12:34
- Scottish retail sales ‘slip to weakest performance since end of lockdown’
- Measures ‘tough but necessary’, says Nicola Sturgeon
- 54 new Covid deaths in Scotland reported on Wednesday
- FM confirms 1,264 new cases of coronavirus
- NRS figures show over 5,000 Covid deaths in Scotland
Puppy farm increase during pandemic highlighted in new campaign
A new campaign has been launched in a bid to ensure potential puppy owners in Scotland avoid illegal dealers which have increased in number during the pandemic.
The #LookBeyondCute campaign comes after the Scottish SPCA launched 78 investigations into reports of puppy farming last month alone, with staff fearing Christmas will fuel demand.
Many illegally bred puppies are sold online through social media or small ad sites, according to the animal welfare charity, who also suggest two in five (40%) pups bought online die before their fifth birthday and 15% get sick or die in the first year.
The Scottish Government’s Rural Affairs Minister Mairi Gougeon helped launched the campaign on Wednesday which focuses on three key “Pup Checks”.
Scottish retail sales ‘slip to weakest performance since end of lockdown’
Sales for the retail sector in Scotland have slipped to the weakest performance since lockdown ended in June, according to experts.
Figures in the latest Scottish Retail Consortium (SRC)-KPMG Scottish Retail Sales Monitor indicate total sales were down 8.5% last month compared to October 2019 when they had decreased by just 0.4%.
Total food sales increased 4.4% in October 2020 (compared to just 2.6% in the same month last year) which was the highest growth since March when figures were said to have been inflated by stockpiling – while total non-food sales also decreased by 19.3%.
It comes after total sales were down 6% in September, 7.5% in August, 8.3% in July and 18.6% in June.
The figure for May was 27.6% – an improvement on the record low recorded in April (32.2%) but still higher than the 13% fall in March.
Restrictions in Scotland by local authority
A Flourish data visualisation by Harriet Clugston
More people looking for new jobs, study suggests
The number of people looking for new jobs has increased in the past six months as workers have gained new skills during the virus crisis, while many have not felt valued by their employer, a new study suggests.
A survey of 2,000 people by recruitment firm Reed found that employer behaviour and new skills are driving more people to look for a career move than before lockdown.
Reasons for looking for a new job included wanting a better work-life balance, not feeling valued, re-evaluating priorities and learning valuable skills that could get them a better job.
Reed said its research indicated that almost one in three people had been looking for a job for at least three months, while one in four have applied for at least 50 jobs since becoming unemployed.
Baroness Harding told to self-isolate by the Test and Trace app
Baroness Harding, who heads the NHS Test and Trace service, is self-isolating after receiving an alert from her service.
The Tory peer posted an image of the “you need to self-isolate” app notification, and wrote: “Nothing like personal experience of your own products …. got this overnight. Feeling well. Many hours of Zoom ahead.”
Lady Harding’s husband, Tory MP John Penrose, has previously been told to self-isolate by the Test and Trace app after potentially coming into contact with someone who has coronavirus.
Pandemic cycling boom drives Halfords to higher profits
A surge in demand for bikes and cycling equipment during lockdown has helped to drive Halfords to higher profits for the past six months.
Halfords revealed that its pre-tax profits doubled to £55 million for the six months to October 2 as it continued its strong trading through 2020.
Group sales jumped by 9.6% to £638 million over the period, as higher bicycle sales helped to offset a softer market for motoring accessories.
The company said that cycling-related sales across its 440 stores were 54.4% higher than the same period last year, as guidance for people to avoid public transport drove demand for new bikes.
It said it also saw a spike in demand for electric bikes and scooters, with sales from its “e-mobility” division increasing by 184%.
Mass testing population of Glasgow ‘a possibility’ says council leader
Coronavirus tests could be offered to everyone across Glasgow in a mass testing scheme similar to the one operating in Liverpool, the council leader has said.
Scientists hope trial drug will help ‘kill off’ Covid-19 in patients
A new clinical trial for a potential early treatment of Covid-19 has been launched in Scotland, which researchers hope may help “kill off” the virus in affected patients.
More than 300 coronavirus patients will be invited to join the research study into the effectiveness of the antiviral drug favipiravir.
NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde is the first place in Scotland to have access to the Japanese-manufactured drug, which inhibits viral RNA, helping to stop the virus from replicating.
The health board said it has shown early promise in China and Japan, appearing to alleviate some symptoms.
The joint study between the health board and the University of Glasgow, named Glasgow Early Treatment Arm Favipiravir (Getafix), will assess the drug’s effectiveness in stopping symptoms and reducing recovery time.
Professor Rob Jones, chief investigator of the study and director of the Cancer Research UK Clinical Trials Unit in Glasgow, which is organising the trial, said: “Covid-19 as a disease few of us had even heard of before the spring.
“Although hopes are high ongoing vaccine trials will help prevent infection, this trial aims to improve current treatment for those unlucky enough to contract it.
New coronavirus laws on travel send ‘clear signal’ to public, says Swinney
Scotland’s Deputy First Minister has said it is “very, very unlikely” people will be stopped by police under new coronavirus travel restrictions but the new measures will send a “clear signal” to the public.
The new legally enforceable measures will prevent people in Level 3 and Level 4 of Scotland’s five-tier system from going outside of their local authority area for non-essential journeys from Friday.
John Swinney said those caught breaching the travel restrictions could be given a fixed penalty notice.
He stressed people travelling between council areas for essential journeys – such as a hospital appointment – will not have to show paperwork to support this if they are stopped.