Hello, and welcome to our live blog for Wednesday, April 28.
Follow along here to stay up-to-date with the latest developments on the coronavirus crisis.
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, April 28
Last updated: Wednesday, 28 April, 2021, 12:12
- Minute’s silence to be held for workers who died of Covid
- 2,782,162 people in Scotland have received the first dose
- 1,102,690 have received their second dose.
Firms more optimistic about next six months, report finds
A majority of Scottish firms are feeling more optimistic about their expected volume of business over the next six months, according to a new survey.
The latest Addleshaw Goddard Business Monitor report – produced in partnership with the University of Strathclyde’s Fraser of Allander Institute – suggests sentiment has improved since the last quarter of 2020 despite challenges posed by the coronavirus pandemic and trade lost due to Brexit.
More than 500 Scottish firms responded to the survey, and 89% said they are confident their chance of survival over the next six months is somewhat or very likely – up from 79% in the previous survey – with 25% expecting a positive year, compared to 8% in the previous quarter.
However nearly two-thirds (64%) of businesses which trade with the EU reported a negative impact and just 3% recorded an increase in activity since the end of the transition period.
Mairi Spowage, director at the Fraser of Allander Institute, said: “As the country starts to emerge from a sustained period of lockdown, it is evident that this is a catalyst for the increased levels of optimism across all sectors.
“The hospitality and accommodation sectors have been two of the hardest hit throughout the pandemic, but we must take hope in that sentiment and expected level of business within these groups have improved over the next six months.
“Despite the increase in positive sentiment, we shouldn’t be disillusioned to think the economy will return to pre-pandemic levels quickly.
“We are still contending with the fallout of Brexit which has created negative trading conditions for firms across the board. These challenges are likely to have a long-term impact.
“However, generally we can remain confident that this will not hinder progress towards a strong economic recovery.”
Latest NRS figures show 10,078 deaths in Scotland with confirmed or suspected coronavirus
A total of 10,078 people have died in Scotland with confirmed or suspected coronavirus, according to the National Records of Scotland (NRS).
The latest figures show 23 deaths relating to Covid-19 were registered between April 19 and April 25, a fall of one on the previous week.
Of the deaths in the week to Sunday, seven were in the Greater Glasgow and Clyde health board area, four in Lanarkshire and three in both Lothian and Tayside.
The majority, 18, occurred in hospitals, with three deaths in care homes and two deaths at home or in non-institutional settings.
The statistics are published weekly and cover all deaths registered in Scotland where Covid-19 was mentioned on the death certificate.
They differ from the lab-confirmed coronavirus deaths announced daily by the Scottish Government because the NRS figures include suspected or probable cases of Covid-19.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock said he has received a text message inviting him to get a Covid-19 vaccine, which came a day after the rollout was extended to include 42-year-olds.
More than half of UK adults have Covid-19 antibodies, figures suggest
More than half of adults in the UK are now likely to have Covid-19 antibodies, new figures have suggested.
The estimates range from 57.8% of adults in Scotland to 68.3% in England, with 61.0% for Wales and 62.5% for Northern Ireland.
The presence of Covid-19 antibodies implies someone has had the infection in the past or has been vaccinated.
It takes between two and three weeks after infection or vaccination for the body to make enough antibodies to fight the virus.
Antibodies then remain in the blood at low levels, although these levels can decline over time to the point that tests can no longer detect them.
The latest estimates are from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) and are based on a sample of blood test results for the week ending April 11.
They reflect the ongoing impact of the vaccine rollout across the UK, in particular the increasing number of people who have received both doses and are now fully vaccinated
Lib Dems propose Government minister focused on Covid recovery
The next Scottish government should have a minister dedicated to dealing with the country’s coronavirus recovery, the Liberal Democrats have said.
Leader Willie Rennie said a Recovery First Secretary should be part of the next administration at Holyrood.
He said the post would replace that of Deputy First Minister, and would mean a senior politician would be tasked specifically with working on the recovery across all spheres of government.
While the SNP is certain to emerge from next week’s election as the largest party at Holyrood, Mr Rennie said electing more Liberal Democrats would “force the government to put recovery first and ditch the wasteful independence plans”.
Grant Shapps: “wait and see” whether the UK will permit travel to Spain
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said the public will have to “wait and see” about whether the UK will permit travel to Spain.
He told Times Radio: “Spain specifically, I’m afraid I just don’t have the answer to that because the Joint Biosecurity Centre will need to come up with their assessment and we can’t do that until a bit nearer the time.
“So we will need to wait and see.”
Brits could visit Portugal in middle of next month
Holidaymakers could be able to visit Portugal from the “middle of May”, the nation’s ambassador to the UK has said.
Asked when Portugal will be opening its borders to tourists from the UK, Manuel Lobo Antunes told Sky News: “As soon as possible, this is not just a unilateral matter, we have to coordinate this issue with our British friends and the UK Government.
“But we are hopeful, as we have been saying for these last months, that from the middle of May, regular mobility between the UK and Portugal and vice versa, can be established, that’s our hope.”
Asked if Britons who have not been vaccinated can travel into the country, he added: “Yes, that’s the idea, that’s what we wanted, to as much as possible go back to the regime that existed before the pandemic.
“It’s in that direction we are working and that is possible.”
Health Secretary Matt Hancock is expected to lead a Downing Street press conference on coronavirus later today.
Professor Peter Openshaw said it would be a ” big mistake” to ease coronavirus restrictions too quickly.
Minute’s silence to be held for workers who died of Covid
A minute’s silence will be held on Wednesday to pay tribute to people who got infected with Covid-19 in work and died as a result.
To mark International Workers’ Memorial Day public buildings, including the SSE Hydro and Edinburgh Castle, will be lit up purple and the Scottish Trades Union Congress (STUC) and Scottish Hazards have written to councils to urge them to do the same.
Scottish Hazards chairman Scott Donohoe said ahead of the event that all health and safety laws should be devolved to Scotland due to what he described as “sustained ideological attacks on our health and safety regulations and our enforcement bodies”.
The minute’s silence, which is also intended to commemorate those who died from other work-related illnesses or injuries, will take place at 11am.
Roz Foyer, the general secretary of the STUC, said: “In the depths of current crisis, we must pay tribute to all the workers who have lost their lives through Covid infection but also to remember that workplace death, injury and disease is a daily occurrence.
“We must use the period ahead to make workplaces safer, to strengthen workers’ voices and collective power and to bring employer and government to account.”
Social prescribing approach required for coronavirus recovery, commission states
A social prescribing approach to healthcare is required for Scotland’s coronavirus recovery, a commission has stated.
The Post-Covid-19 Futures Commission, established by the Royal Society of Edinburgh (RSE), has issued a new report suggesting non-medical approaches could alleviate pressure on the NHS and other public services in the wake of the pandemic.
Social prescribing – also known as community referral – allows GPs, nurses and other healthcare workers to help patients away from health services and instead use community organisations, local support groups or holistic hubs.
The commission’s report suggests community partners can be adequately resourced to deliver such a tailored support across the country.
Caroline Gardner, chairwoman of the RSE’s Post-Covid-Commission Inclusive Public Service Working Group, said: “Social prescribing puts people at the centre of their own care.
Single Covid-19 vaccine ‘cuts transmission by up to half’ – PHE
A single dose of a Covid-19 vaccine can slash transmission by up to half, according to a new study from Public Health England (PHE).
The breakthrough findings offer further hope that the pandemic can be brought under control as vaccinated people are far less likely to pass the virus onto others.
The new study found that people given a single dose of either the Pfizer/BioNTech or Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccines – and who became infected at least three weeks later – were between 38% and 49% less likely to pass the virus on to people living in their homes, compared to those who were unvaccinated.
Protection was seen from around 14 days after vaccination, with similar levels regardless of a person’s age.
Other studies have already shown that both vaccines are highly effective at stopping people getting sick and ending up in hospital.
Experts will now assess whether two doses of vaccine can cut transmission of the virus even further, and more work is being carried out on transmission in the general population.
PHE said similar results could be expected in places where the risk of transmission is similar to the home, such as shared accommodation and prisons.
The study included data from January and February, when the Kent strain was dominant in the UK.