Nicola Sturgeon coronavirus briefing RECAP: First Minister speaks on day schools return ahead of routemap out of lockdown announcement

Follow here for all coronavirus updates from Scotland, the UK and around the world.

By Rachel Mackie
Monday, 22nd February 2021, 6:37 am
Updated Monday, 22nd February 2021, 1:30 pm

There were 803 new cases reported on Saturday, and another 827 reported on Sunday, bringing a weekly total of 1,630.

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John Swinney refuses to commit to not closing Scotland/England border

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Coronavirus in Scotland LIVE: Over 1,500 new Covid cases reported over the weekend as caution urged across the country

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Coronavirus in Scotland LIVE: Follow here for all Monday’s updates

Last updated: Monday, 22 February, 2021, 12:36

John Swinney refuses to commit to not closing Scotland/England border

The deputy first minister has said the Scottish Government “doesn’t want” to close the border between Scotland and England as part of the country’s attempts to drive down the level of Covid-19.

Young children return to school as classrooms reopen

Children in primaries one to three are due back in Scottish schools from Monday, along with some senior secondary pupils who need to do practical work for qualifications. All children under school age in early learning and childcare are also returning.

Senior secondary pupils will need to stick to two-metre social distancing within schools and on school buses, while Covid-19 testing will be made available to them and teachers.

Education Secretary John Swinney has said it is “critical” that parents follow mask-wearing and physical distancing rules at the school gates when younger pupils return to class.

He acknowledged that the Government has little “headroom” regarding the R number – the rate at which the virus grows.

Mr Swinney told the BBC’s Sunday Show programme: “We’ve all got to play a part, not just the school environment but the whole surrounding environment of society, to make sure that we do all that we can to suppress the virus.

“Because we don’t actually have an awful lot of headroom between where the R level is just now – somewhere between 0.7 and 0.9 – and 1, where obviously the virus begins to spread exponentially.”

Mr Swinney said ministers would be monitoring data carefully when the initial cohort of pupils returns before deciding on whether others could go back to class.

Professor Devi Sridhar, chairwoman of global public health at the University of Edinburgh, told BBC Good Morning Scotland on Monday: “I think we should keep perspective.

“There will likely be cases emerging in schools over in the next few weeks but the vast majority of schools should be fine and that’s what we have to keep perspective on.”

Prof Sridhar, who is an adviser to the Scottish Government, said: “If you look at the vast majority of scientific knowledge on this, from the United States from across Europe, from East Asia, the view is really that children are not driving transmission.

“They can get infected definitely and they can infect others but they are much less likely to and so if we talk to paediatric colleagues about this they are not finding a lot of asymptomatic infections in children and they are testing quite regularly in hospitals.”

Reporting by PA

Coronavirus in Scotland: First vaccine dose reduces hospital admission by up to 94 per cent, landmark study finds

A first dose of Covid-19 vaccine can reduce the risk of hospital admission by up to 94 per cent a landmark study has found.

Scottish Government coronavirus update: 715 positive cases recorded, 1,141 patients in hospital, 99 patients in intensive care and there were no new deaths reported.

FM: Tomorrow’s speech to parliament will set out a rough idea about a route out of lockdown, though may not include specific dates.

FM: The way forward will be cautious - the indications show the vaccinations are having an impact.

FM: Thanks all teachers for the work they are doing today as younger children start to go back to school

FM: Today is an 'important milestone'

FM: Ability to get children back to school next month will depend on the continuing impact of lockdown.

FM: Emphasises the need to stay at home except for essential purposes.

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