Nicola Sturgeon FMQs LIVE: First Minister faces questions at Holyrood and updates on coronavirus in Scotland

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

By Gary Flockhart
Wednesday, 17th February 2021, 6:36 am
Updated Wednesday, 17th February 2021, 12:26 pm

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

Coronavirus in Scotland RECAP: The latest updates on Wednesday, February 17

Last updated: Thursday, 18 February, 2021, 06:12

Nicola Sturgeon accused of misleading Scots on key Covid-19 vaccine target

Nicola Sturgeon has been accused of misleading the public on coronavirus vaccinations, as the Tories insisted a key target had been missed.

Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross said the First Minister had been “caught spinning the stats and misleading the public” after she said the target of vaccinating all over-70s and all those classed as clinically extremely vulnerable had been achieved.

On Monday Ms Sturgeon said she was “satisfied that we have met that target”, adding that “everyone in these groups has been offered the vaccine”.

But the latest figures showed that 143,752 80% of people on the shielding list have had their first jab.

Mr Ross is demanding that Ms Sturgeon “apologise for this completely unacceptable attempt to hide the truth”.

The row erupted after the First Minister told MSPs at Holyrood that by 8.30am on Wednesday a total of 1,320,074 Scots had received their first dose of the coronavirus vaccine – an increase of 32,070 from the previous day.

With National Records of Scotland (NRS) figures showing coronavirus deaths in care homes having fallen by 62% in three weeks, she welcomed this as the “first hard evidence of the positive impact of vaccination”.

Mr Ross said she had “tried to dupe the public about meeting key targets”, branding this as “shocking”.

Jackie Baillie says ‘lives could have been saved'

Labour says pandemic should have been “anticipated"

Jackie Baillie, Labour's interim leader, said today's Audit Scotland report showed that "a pandemic should have been anticipated".

She said the report highlighted that issues surrounding the supply of PPE, as well as the ability of social care services to cope with a pandemic in Scotland, were made clear in three separate preparedness exercises conducted in 2015, 2016 and 2017.

Ms Baillie asked whether the warnings were not acted upon due to "negligence or incompetence".

The First Minister said Labour's question was "demeaning" to the hard working NHS and social care staff who have faced the brunt of issues during the pandemic.

She added that the three pandemic preparedness exercises were for flu-type outbreaks, rather than SARS-like ones, meaning they had limited value when it came to advising how to prepare for coronavirus.

Ruth Davidson challenges FM on ‘inadequate’ PPE warnings

Nicola Sturgeon added that from Thursday advice being given to the close contacts of people testing positive for coronavirus would change.

These people will now be asked to get tested themselves “as a matter of course”, as well as having to isolate for 10 days.

The First Minister added: “If they then test positive their contacts will be traced and more chains of transmission will be broken, so this is a further strengthening of Test and Protect.”

Nicola Sturgeon went on to say the NRS figures showed the largest reduction of deaths over the last three weeks was in the over-85 age group, with a drop of 45%.

Speaking at the start of First Minister’s Questions, she added that people aged over 80 living in the community had been the next priority of the vaccination programme, after care home residents.

She said: “It is reasonable to take some heart from this because it strongly suggests the vaccine programme is having the hoped for effect of reducing the death toll from the virus.”

She said by 8.30am on Wednesday a total of 1,320,074 Scots had received their first dose of the coronavirus vaccine – an increase of 32,070 from the previous day.

Nicola Sturgeon said the latest report from National Records of Scotland on coronavirus deaths contained the “first hard evidence of the positive impact of vaccination”.

With the number of deaths having fallen for the last three weeks, Ms Sturgeon noted hospital deaths were down 11% over that period, with deaths in people’s homes and other “non institutional settings” down 29%.

“However deaths in care homes, which were the early focus of the vaccination programme, have fallen by 62%,” the First Minister said.

“In fact, with the exception of one week at the end of August when there were only two Covid deaths registered overall, care homes accounted for a smaller proportion of overall Covid deaths last week than at any time since March of last year.

“I think that is positive news, given the toll the virus has taken on our care homes.”

Scotland has recorded 64 deaths from coronavirus and 1,121 positive tests in the past 24 hours, Scottish Government figures show.

It brings the death toll under this measure – of people who first tested positive for the virus within the previous 28 days – to 6,828.

The latest statistics show 194,269 people have tested positive in Scotland, up from 193,148 the previous day.

The daily test positivity rate is 5.2%, down from 6%.

There are 1,317 people in hospital confirmed to have the virus, down 66 in 24 hours, and 99 patients are in intensive care, down one.

Steven Gerrard confirmed five players have been removed from the Rangers squad after breaching Covid-19 rules.

Boris Johnson said easing England’s lockdown will be based on a “cautious and prudent approach”, as he was urged to focus on data rather than dates when lifting restrictions.

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