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Coronavirus in Scotland LIVE: The latest updates on Monday, April 19
Last updated: Tuesday, 20 April, 2021, 12:19
- Parties warned against raising ‘unrealistic expectations’ for the NHS
- Scotland records further 178 Covid cases on Tuesday
- Two further Covid-19 deaths registered
Parties warned against raising ‘unrealistic expectations’ for the NHS
Politicians may be “raising unrealistic public expectations” about the amount of work the NHS in Scotland can do after the coronavirus pandemic, leading doctors have warned.
While the future of the health service is a key battleground in the run up to next month’s Holyrood election, doctors said they had a “real concern” about some of the promises parties are making.
Dr Lewis Morrison, the chair of the British Medical Association (BMA) Scotland spoke out along with Dr Miles Mack, the chair of the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges and Faculties in Scotland, also known as the Scottish Academy.
Noting that many health workers were “suffering the physical and mental impact” of working throughout the pandemic, they also called for an increased in staffing.
Their comments come as the Scottish Conservatives promised a one-off £600 million boost to to help the NHS tackle the “treatment log-jam” that has built up during the pandemic.
Sturgeon calls for four-nations Covid-19 inquiry this year
A four-nations inquiry into the coronavirus pandemic should begin this year, Nicola Sturgeon has said.
The First Minister said she had already committed to an inquiry covering Scotland in 2021, but said a UK-wide inquiry could also look at issues affecting each nation.
The Prime Minister has previously said he supported holding an inquiry into the UK’s response to Covid-19 but a timescale has not yet been set.
The SNP’s election manifesto says there should be a “person-centred” public inquiry that would hear from those who have lost loved ones to the virus.
Ms Sturgeon said: “I am committed to establishing in Scotland a judge-led public inquiry to examine all aspects of our handling of the pandemic – including the situation in our care homes – and to have this under way before the end of this year.
“This will happen in Scotland whether or not it happens in other parts of the UK.
“However, there is no doubt it would be beneficial to have an inquiry that could look across the four nations as well as at specific issues within each nation – this would help provide answers to families, businesses and all those who have made sacrifices over the last year.
“I hope all governments across the UK will join me in committing to a full public inquiry starting later this year.”
Covid progress must not be risked by ‘lax’ foreign travel rules, Sturgeon warns
Progress in tackling coronavirus in the UK must not be put in jeopardy with “too lax a position on international travel”, Nicola Sturgeon has insisted.
The Scottish First Minister said opening up overseas travel brought a risk of importing new strains of the virus into the UK – which vaccines may be less effective against.
With Scotland requiring all travellers arriving in the country from overseas to self-isolate in a quarantine hotel, Ms Sturgeon said her Government was continuing to press the UK to adopt the same approach.
Her comments came as Prime Minister Boris Johnson prepares to travel to India, where a new variant of coronavirus has been identified.
Ms Sturgeon, speaking on the Sophy Ridge On Sunday programme on Sky News, said the India strain was currently classed as a “variant of interest, rather than a variant of concern”.
But she said: “I think the thing we have got to recognise about Covid is that it is mutating and we are seeing new variants appear in different parts of the world.
“We don’t know where the variants of real concern are going to come from, which is why an approach to travel that tries to categorise risk, with some countries categorised as red-list countries and other countries deemed to be safer, I think poses a risk.
“Because none of us know right now where the next variant that might be really problematic is going to occur.”
Nick Nairn warns strict new Covid regulations could be "fatal blow" for many hospitality businesses
Celebrity chef Nick Nairn has voiced fears that new Covid regulations could cripple Scotland’s hospitality industry.
Virus variant identified in India could ‘catch out’ the vulnerable – expert
The variant of coronavirus first identified in India is likely to become a “variant of concern” which could potentially lead to the country being put on the UK’s travel “red list”, an immunology expert has said.
Danny Altmann, professor of immunology at Imperial College London, said variants of the virus which causes Covid-19 “do pose a threat” and vulnerable people could be “caught out”.
Dozens of cases of the variant have been identified in the UK.
The variant, also known as B.1.617, is currently designated as a “variant under investigation” (VUI) rather than a “variant of concern” (VOC), such as those first identified in Kent, Manaus (Brazil) or South Africa.
Prof Altmann said some people in the population are still vulnerable and can “still be caught out” by variants.
He told ITV’s Good Morning Britain: “I am concerned about all the variants. Don’t get me wrong, I think our road map is going well and at the moment, in this country, we are doing rather well, enjoying unlocking.
“But out there, there is the Indian variant, the South African, Brazilian etc, and they do pose a threat.”
Dr Jeffrey Barrett, director of the Covid-19 Genomics Initiative at the Wellcome Sanger Institute, said that the variant of the virus first identified in India should be “watched carefully” but it is “probably not at the top tier of mutations that generate the most concern.”
When asked whether India should be placed on the so-called “red list” for travel, Andrew Hayward, professor of infectious disease epidemiology at University College London said his preference was to “err on the side of caution and act sooner rather than later”, but that the decision was a political one.
Scotland records 232 new Covid cases but no further deaths
Scotland has recorded 232 positive coronavirus tests in the past 24 hours, the latest figures show.
A total of 223,914 people have now tested positive in Scotland, up from 223,682 the previous day.
No new deaths have been recorded and the total number of fatalities under the daily measure – of people who first tested positive for the virus within the previous 28 days – remains at 7,642.
The daily test positivity rate is 2.5%, up from 1.6%.
There are 104 people in hospital with Covid-19 and 14 people are in intensive care.
A total of 2,747,694 people have received their first dose of a coronavirus vaccine and 757,115 have received their second dose.
Coronavirus in Scotland: 232 new cases of Covid reported in the last 24 hours
The Scottish Government has released the latest statistics on coronavirus.