LiveCoronavirus in Scotland RECAP: 359 new Covid cases but no further deaths reported on Monday

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

Follow along here to stay up-to-date with the latest developments on Monday, March 22.

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

Coronavirus in Scotland: The latest updates on Monday, March 22

Last updated: Monday, 22 March, 2021, 07:54

  • 359 new cases of Covid-19 reported on Monday
  • Police thank Old Firm fans as only ‘small groups’ gather for game
  • No coronavirus deaths in Scotland on Monday

Firms have opportunity to redefine how people work post-pandemic – report

Moving on from the pandemic offers organisations the opportunity to redefine the way people work and to re-imagine the purpose of the office, according to a new report.

The Scottish Futures Trust (SFT) study said that as organisations look towards the future beyond Covid-19, they should consider the three ‘Hs’ of working – from home, a nearby hub or the head office.

Many people became homeworkers “virtually overnight” when the country went into lockdown on March 23 last year and the report said that the workforce of the future will want to make informed choices about where and how they work.

Analysis of a sample of workers from public sector organisations found that 88% of the 4,961 respondents wanted to work at least one day a week from home, with 24% happy to continue to work full-time from home.

One in 10 (10%) said they preferred not to work from home while 2% did not specify.

Boris Johnson to call EU leaders in attempt to stop potential Covid vaccine export ban

Boris Johnson to call EU leaders in attempt to stop potential Covid vaccine export ban

Prime Minister Boris Johnson is expected to speak to EU leaders this week regarding proposals to ban the export of Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccines to the UK.

Public health expert advises holidays in Scotland, but says things could change

'Stick to Scottish holidays for now, but things could change,' says expert

A public health expert has urged would-be holidaymakers to focus first on opportunities here in Scotland, though not ruling out trips overseas at some stage.

Hearing loss may be linked to coronavirus, study suggests

Hearing loss and other auditory problems may be strongly associated with coronavirus, new research suggests.

Researchers found 56 studies that identified an association between Covid-19 and auditory and vestibular problems.

They pooled data from 24 of the studies to estimate that the prevalence of hearing loss was 7.6%, tinnitus was 14.8% and vertigo was 7.2%.

The vestibular system includes the parts of the inner ear and brain that process the sensory information involved with controlling balance and eye movements.

However, the team – who followed up their review carried out a year ago – described the quality of the studies as fair.

Their data primarily used self-reported questionnaires or medical records to obtain Covid-19-related symptoms, rather than the more scientifically reliable hearing tests.

Kevin Munro, professor of audiology at The University of Manchester and Manchester Biomedical Research Centre (BRC) hearing health lead, said: “There is an urgent need for a carefully conducted clinical and diagnostic study to understand the long-term effects of Covid-19 on the auditory system.

“It is also well-known that viruses such as measles, mumps and meningitis can cause hearing loss, little is understood about the auditory effects of the Sars-CoV-2 virus.

“Though this review provides further evidence for an association, the studies we looked at were of varying quality so more work needs to be done.”

DIY boom sees profits at B&Q owner soar more than 600%

The owner of B&Q has cashed in on a DIY boom as millions of people stuck at home tried to improve their living conditions.

Kingfisher said it had seen pre-tax profits balloon 634% from £103 million to £756 million in the 12 months to the end of January.

Sales increased by 7.2% during the same period to £12.3 billion, the company revealed on Monday.

Growth was driven by a boom in online sales, which were up by 158%.

E-commerce was already a growing segment for the business, which also owns Screwfix, as it rose 8% in the year ending January 2020. However, the explosive growth during lockdown came as people tried to do up the homes they were confined to.

Chief executive Thierry Garnier said: “Kingfisher is coming out of the Covid crisis as a stronger business, with an improved competitive position in all key markets, strong new customer growth and a step change in digital adoption.

“I would like to express my personal thanks to all our teams for their incredible efforts in the most testing of circumstances.”

The company said it had seen a strong start to this financial year amid high demand in the UK and France, which are both going through lockdowns.

Since the end of January life-for-like sales have risen more than 24% compared with the same period in 2020.

AstraZeneca vaccine 100% effective against severe Covid, study finds

The Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine is 79% effective at preventing Covid-19 and offers 100% protection against severe disease, new data from a US-led trial has shown.

The jab, which has been the subject of controversy in Europe over concerns about links to very rare blood clots, is also 100% effective at keeping people out of hospital with severe illness.

Some 32,449 people across all age groups took part in the phase three trial in the US, Chile and Peru, with a total of 141 cases of symptomatic Covid-19 reported.

The results showed that among people aged 65 and over, there was 80% protection against developing Covid-19.

The degree of effectiveness for the jab was even higher than observed in the Oxford-led clinical trials.

An independent data safety monitoring board (DSMB) also identified no safety concerns related to the vaccine.

It conducted a specific review of thrombotic events, as well as cerebral venous sinus thrombosis (CVST) – the specific type of brain blood clot that has been troubling Europe.

The DSMB found no increased risk of thrombosis among the 21,583 participants receiving at least one dose of the vaccine. The specific search for CVST found no cases in this trial.

Andrew Pollard, professor of paediatric infection and immunity, and lead investigator of the Oxford University trial of the vaccine, said: “These results are great news as they show the remarkable efficacy of the vaccine in a new population and are consistent with the results from Oxford-led trials.

“We can expect strong impact against Covid-19 across all ages and for people of all different backgrounds from widespread us of the vaccine.”

Feelings of loneliness and hopelessness increase during pandemic – study

Feelings of loneliness and hopelessness have increased among Scottish adults in the past year, new research has found.

There was also a rise in the number of people who thought about suicide, according to the Mental Health Foundation’s Mental Health in the Pandemic study.

Researchers found that feelings of loneliness have become much more common over the past year, increasing from 11% of those surveyed in March 2020 to 29% in February 2021.

The number of people who said they had felt hopeless because of the pandemic over the previous two weeks rose from 15% in March 2020 to 20% in February 2021.

However anxiety about the pandemic has fallen, from 64% in March last year to 44% last month.

Lee Knifton, director of Mental Health Foundation Scotland, said: “Our study has tracked the pandemic’s impacts on Scotland’s mental health for a year and what we see is a complex picture.

“On some measures, Scottish adults are feeling better than in March 2020, with fewer of us feeling anxious about the pandemic, but more of us now feel lonely and hopeless, which is a serious concern given that these are risk factors for mental health problems.”

Firms have opportunity to redefine how people work post-pandemic – report

Moving on from the pandemic offers organisations the opportunity to redefine the way people work and to re-imagine the purpose of the office, according to a new report.

The Scottish Futures Trust (SFT) study said that as organisations look towards the future beyond Covid-19, they should consider the three ‘Hs’ of working – from home, a nearby hub or the head office.

Many people became homeworkers “virtually overnight” when the country went into lockdown on March 23 last year and the report said that the workforce of the future will want to make informed choices about where and how they work.

Analysis of a sample of workers from public sector organisations found that 88% of the 4,961 respondents wanted to work at least one day a week from home, with 24% happy to continue to work full-time from home.

One in 10 (10%) said they preferred not to work from home while 2% did not specify.

Holyrood could keep some remote working after Covid, says Presiding Officer

Remote working procedures brought in to help Holyrood adapt to Covid-19 could remain in place after the pandemic has come to an end, even though they are “suboptimal” to normal sittings, the Scottish Parliament’s Presiding Officer has said.

Ken Macintosh said he had been “pleased and relieved” by how the parliament had adapted its working practices after the virus struck.

Those changes have seen some business, including committee meetings and questions to ministers, take place entirely remotely, with MSPs appearing from their living rooms, studies and kitchens.

The Scottish Parliament has also shifted to an online voting system which has seen more members than before taking part when compared to when votes had to be cast in the chamber.

But MSPs have also continued to be in the Holyrood building, with Nicola Sturgeon giving regular updates on Covid-19 and sessions such as First Minister’s Questions also proceeding.

Mr Macintosh, who is stepping down as Presiding Officer and finishing as an MSP at May’s Scottish elections, said there had been a “big plus side” to the virtual arrangements that have been put in place.

But he also insisted he would not wish the remote working practices that have been adopted to be the default position.

The next parliament will have to decide in what circumstances these arrangements can continue to be used, when the pandemic comes to an end, he said.

Police thank Old Firm fans as only ‘small groups’ gather for game

Police Scotland have thanked the “vast majority” of Old Firm fans after feared mass gatherings failed to materialise.

Following Rangers’ title win earlier this month, hundreds of fans took to the streets of Glasgow to celebrate, flouting rules on social distancing and mass gatherings.

The celebrations drew the ire of the police and politicians, while officers were criticised for what some said was a lax response.

Ahead of Sunday’s Rangers v Celtic game, which ended in a 1-1 draw, fans had been warned against gatherings, with officers even visiting some at their homes to urge them against it.

Assistant chief constable Bernard Higgins said: “I’d like to thank the vast majority of fans from both clubs who took responsibility to prevent the spread of coronavirus by staying at home and not gathering at Celtic Park or anywhere else.

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