Nicola Sturgeon’s lockdown statement RECAP: First Minister eases restrictions on outdoor meetings and places of worship

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Tuesday, 9th March 2021, 3:40 pm

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The latest updates on Covid-19 in Scotland.

Nicola Sturgeon’s lockdown statement RECAP: First Minister eases restrictions on outdoor meetings and places of worship

Last updated: Tuesday, 09 March, 2021, 12:32

  • Nicola Sturgeon set to ease restrictions on outdoor meet-ups
  • 501 new Covid cases and one further death on Monday
  • Police condemn ‘lack of support’ from Rangers over mass fan gatherings

Nicola Sturgeon set to ease restrictions on outdoor meet-ups for Scots

An easing on the restrictions on outdoor meetings could be announced by Nicola Sturgeon in her latest coronavirus update.

The First Minister is due to give a statement on the ongoing fight against Covid-19 to MSPs in the Scottish Parliament on Tuesday afternoon.

She has already indicated a change in the rules on outdoor meetings – which at the moment only allow for two people from two different households to get together – could be coming.

On Friday, Ms Sturgeon indicated “good progress” with the vaccination programme and the falling number of infections could mean that “greater normality is firmly on the horizon”.

She said then she was “hopeful” the Scottish Government may be able to make some “relatively minor, but I think important, changes in our ability to meet outdoors and also how young people are able to interact with their friends outdoors”.

Deputy First Minister John Swinney confirmed on Monday any changes to the current lockdown regime would be set out by Ms Sturgeon.

He added: “The First Minister has been clear that we will try to relax lockdown as quickly as we possibly can do, but we have to do it in a sustainable manner.

“That means taking the appropriate steps in the appropriate sequence to make sure we don’t run the risk of the virus running away from us again.”

Budget to pass as Greens and Government agree on travel, pay and Covid relief

The budget is expected to pass the Scottish Parliament on Tuesday after a deal was reached with the Greens.

Finance Secretary Kate Forbes announced on Monday to the Finance and Constitution Committee that agreement had been reached to ensure the spending plans are approved by MSPs.

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.

Half a million families will receive the smaller payment, while 170,000 will be eligible for the full £330, the Greens have said.

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.

Police condemn ‘lack of support’ from Rangers over mass fan gatherings

Police Scotland has criticised the “lack of support from Rangers Football Club” over failing to order thousands of fans who gathered in Glasgow on Sunday to go home.

Fans congregated in George Square and outside Ibrox Stadium after Rangers took their first top-flight title in 10 years.

Police made 28 arrests and seven people were issued with fixed penalty notices or will be reported to the Procurator Fiscal.

Reasons for arrest included assaulting police officers, breaching coronavirus regulations, disorder, use of flares and sectarian breaches of the peace.

Deputy Chief Constable Malcolm Graham said: “The behaviour which we saw at the weekend was disgraceful and I utterly condemn the individuals who chose to completely disregard the coronavirus regulations, putting both the wider community and our officers at risk.

“I also strongly condemn the lack of support from Rangers Football Club over the messages we repeatedly asked them to put out to persuade fans not to go out celebrating and encourage those who did gather in large numbers to return home.

“We’ve been planning for the conclusion of the football season for some time since the league was allowed to resume and the sport is in a very privileged position given the restrictions seen across the country for almost a year.

“It was very clear through the lack of messaging that Rangers did not take seriously their responsibilities in terms of seeking to persuade their fans to celebrate safely and responsibly.”

Autistic teenager sends almost 700 thank you cards to hospital staff

An autistic teenager has sent almost 700 thank you cards to staff at a hospital to share messages of support with those on the front line dealing with Covid-19.

Paddy Joyce, 17, from Glasgow, began writing to healthcare staff in mid-January as a way to help with his anxiety after he became very upset over the death statistics.

With the assistance of staff at Glasgow Royal Infirmary (GRI), he has now been able to hand-write 663 individually named cards to members of the team.

So far Paddy, who has autism with significant global development delays, has written more than 1,000 cards and hopes to send more than 5,000 by the end of the year.

He said: “I saw how sad and upset they were on the news. My mum said I should write to someone, so I asked her to find someone and lots of people wanted one, so I want to write to everyone.”

Government warned Scottish festivals, concerts and conferences may go to England due to lockdown caution

Government warned Scottish festivals, concerts and conferences may go to England due to lockdown caution

Scottish event organisers are pleading with Nicola Sturgeon not to leave them lagging behind England when the country's route map out of lockdown is revealed this month.

A total of 2,914 deaths registered in England and Wales in the week ending February 26 mentioned Covid-19 on the death certificate, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS) – a drop of 29% on the previous week.

A total of 2,914 deaths registered in England and Wales in the week ending February 26 mentioned Covid-19 on the death certificate, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS) – a drop of 29% on the previous week.

When will Nicola Sturgeon be addressing the Scottish Parliament today? What will she say and how can you watch it?

When will Nicola Sturgeon be addressing the Scottish Parliament today? What will she say and how can you watch it?

The First Minister will be addressing the Scottish Parliament on Tuesday to make further announcements on Scotland’s route out of lockdown.

There have been a further 166 cases of coronavirus in Wales, taking the total number of confirmed cases to 205,368. Public Health Wales reported three further deaths, taking the total in the country since the start of the pandemic to 5,406.

Coronavirus in Scotland: Nicola Sturgeon set to ease restrictions on outdoor meet-ups for Scots

Coronavirus in Scotland: Nicola Sturgeon set to ease restrictions on outdoor meet-ups for Scots

Nicola Sturgeon is expected to slightly ease Covid-19 restrictions in Scotland on Tuesday – allowing more people to meet up outdoors.

Spain pursuing Covid vaccine passport scheme to allow return of tourists - what we know so far

Spain pursuing Covid vaccine passport scheme to allow return of tourists - what we know so far

Holidays to Spain could soon be open to tourists again following the launch of a Covid-19 vaccine passport pilot scheme.

Sir Patrick Vallance: worldwide progress in vaccinating key to unlocking international travel

Chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance suggested worldwide progress in vaccinating against Covid-19 was the key to unlocking international travel.

He told MPs on the Science and Technology Committee “inevitably at some point travel will reopen” and “as more countries become vaccinated and as we get the ability to understand how much transmission is reduced by vaccination it makes freer movement across countries much more possible again”.

That might involve “certification or whatever” but travel has to reopen in a safe way, possibly with a global screening programme to help detect variants.

He said the issue underlined the point that it was an international effort to vaccinate people “not a national thing” and “therefore vaccines need to get out to other countries as well”.

May 17 has been pencilled in as the earliest date for the resumption of international travel.

Committee member Carol Monaghan pointed out that “other countries are way behind us in terms of vaccination” so questioned whether May 17 was a “sensible date”.

Sir Patrick said: “We are going to have to measure as we go along and we don’t know.”

Scotland lockdown: the Covid rules that will change next as Nicola Sturgeon gives update on roadmap today

These are the coronavirus restrictions that will be eased next in Scotland

Restrictions on outdoor socialising are expected to ease next

Chancellor Rishi Sunak defended the Government’s handling of the pandemic, telling MPs “at all steps in this crisis we have indeed taken the advice of our scientific advisers”.

NHS workers will receive a pay rise next year, Rishi Sunak has said.

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