LiveNicola Sturgeon FMQs RECAP: Scotland's First Minister challenged on drug deaths | Douglas Ross calls for action | Anas Sarwar demands answers on 'PPE shortages'

Latest updates on the Covid-19 crisis from Scotland and around the world.

Thursday, 17th June 2021, 1:02 pm
The latest updates on Covid-19 in Scotland and around the world.
The latest updates on Covid-19 in Scotland and around the world.

Scroll down to see the latest news on the pandemic on Thursday, June 17.

Covid Scotland: The latest updates on the pandemic on Thursday, June 17

Last updated: Thursday, 17 June, 2021, 12:50

  • Nicola Sturgeon to attend FMQs at Holyrood
  • Alcohol sales in Scotland drop to lowest level for 26 years
  • Ryanair ‘to begin legal action over travel traffic light system’

On reports Scotland’s central stockpile of PPE ran very low in the early stages of the pandemic, Ms Sturgeon said: "We didn't have to ask anybody else for mutual aid - because we did not run out of PPE."

Scottish Greens highlight third year of government’s missed climate targets

Patrick Harvie, co-leader of Scottish Greens, says: “The government is failing to live up to the rhetoric about world beating targets."

Ms Sturgeon concedes there is a need to accelerate climate change progress, adding "we of course want to hit those targets".

Labour's Anas Sarwar says PPE may not have run out on spreadsheets, but a lack off PPE "cost lives"

Nicola Sturgeon says supply was low at times, but an Audit Scotland report found supplies "did not run out"

Nicola Sturgeon: "Before the pandemic, round about 100% of our PPE was imported. Now, the majority of it is manufactured here in Scotland."

Nicola Sturgeon: “This is difficult work. There are no easy solutions. We accept that. Change will not be delivered overnight, but we are determined to make the change that is required. That’s why Angela Constance is the Drugs Policy Minister. She reports directly to me.”

Nicola Sturgeon admits "we have failed" in aspects of drugs policy

Douglas Ross asks if Nicola Sturgeon accepts that the Scottish Government’s addiction treatment system is “fundamentally broken”.

The First Minister says she accepts “we are not yet where we want to be”.

Nicola Sturgeon is taking questions from MSPs at FMQs - follow it here

Scientists develop ‘transformative’ saliva Covid test

A university is trialling the use of saliva samples to test for Covid-19, a move researchers claim could be “transformative” for screening large numbers of people and cuts the risk of community transmission.

Scientists behind the pilot TestEd scheme at the University of Edinburgh said it is potentially more accurate, less invasive and cheaper than current tests.

The tests use a saliva sample in a tube which undergoes hypercube sample pooling to allow dozens of samples to be PCR-tested simultaneously.

Pooling the samples reduces the costs and time involved in processing existing PCR tests but maintains accuracy, researchers said, unlike the lateral flow tests which are available to those without symptoms but are less accurate.

The saliva tests will be offered twice-weekly to all students and staff as they return to campus and aim to detect infections before symptoms appear to minimise transmission.

TestEd chief investigator Professor Tim Aitman said: “The rise in cases caused by the Delta variant and the subsequent pause in the easing of restrictions are a timely reminder that we will be living with this disease for some time.

Scotland legend Alan Rough meets care home residents to talk about hopes of beating England in Euro 2020 clash

Legendary Scotland goalkeeper Alan Rough has met with care home residents in Glasgow ahead of the country’s Euro 2020 clash against England.

Risk of Covid plummets 21 days after first vaccine dose, analysis suggests

The chance of getting Covid-19 after being vaccinated drops sharply 21 days following a first dose, new analysis suggests.

People who become infected post-vaccination are also less likely to have symptoms than those who test positive for the virus but who have not been jabbed.

The findings have been published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) and are based on a sample of adults who had received the vaccine up to May 31.

They suggest the risk of infection increases following a first dose, peaking at around 16 days.

There is then a “strong decrease” in risk up to around one month after the first dose, and the risk then declines slowly but steadily.

Rates of infection post-vaccination are likely to be very low, however.

Out of a sample of 297,493 people vaccinated, 1,477 (0.5%) were subsequently found to have a new positive infection of Covid-19.

There was a very slight difference between whether the person had received the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine (0.8% of the total) and Oxford/AstraZeneca (0.3%).

From a sample of 210,918 adults who had received both doses of vaccine, just 0.1% were subsequently found to have a new positive infection.

Possible explanations for infection shortly after getting the vaccine include someone catching Covid-19 before they had received a jab, or exposure to Covid-19 at a vaccination centre, the ONS said.

Fans without tickets told not to travel to London

Football fans who do not have tickets for Euro 2020 games should not travel to London amid ongoing Covid restrictions, a senior police officer has warned.

Metropolitan Police Deputy Assistant Commissioner Laurence Taylor told LBC radio: “We’re asking people to work with us.

“We know people want to come and enjoy it, but all the events in London are ticketed only and, with the current Covid restrictions, spaces in pubs and bars will be limited.

“So if people don’t have tickets, we would ask them not to come to London.”

His comments came ahead of England facing off against Scotland at Wembley Stadium on Friday night.

Mr Taylor said events with large crowds, often where alcohol is consumed, create “policing challenges” but that the force has a “robust plan” in place.

Asked about fans potentially gathering in the capital, such as the scenes seen in Trafalgar Square in previous years, he said: “The fan zone is a ticketed event only and is only available for a small number of people to ensure that it is Covid-compliant and works within its risk assessment.

“People gathering around in larger groups outside of Covid restrictions can expect to be policed.”

Treasury minister Jesse Norman said “an enormous amount of money” has already been poured into the arts during the pandemic, when asked if a Government-backed insurance scheme could be introduced to support festivals.

Festival in doubt without funding, says Peter Gabriel

Womad festival co-founder Peter Gabriel said the event may have to be cancelled this year without support from the Government.

He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “If we’re trying to restore cultural life and normality then we do need a bit of help here.

“It’s a huge industry now and we would like to get some confidence and security from something like an insurance scheme, some sort of underwriting scheme.”

Asked if festivals should become part of the pilot scheme on large events, he said: “It’s very difficult and obviously we want to be included, the vaccine programme has been amazing.

“If we can just lock those in and get some support for independent festivals particularly, but all the festival sector, then I think we can have a great summer.”

Asked whether organisers will have to cancel the festival this year without support, he said: “I think we have to. We’ve been faced with bankruptcy on two occasions previous to that and if we’re trying to secure the future of the festival… we can’t risk sinking it this year.”

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