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Coronavirus in Scotland LIVE: The latest updates on Tuesday, April 27
Last updated: Tuesday, 27 April, 2021, 14:08
- Willie Rennie calls for Covid inquiry interim report in six months
- 133 new cases reported on Tuesday
- One new coronavirus death registered
Covid cases across the country rise by 133 with one further death reported
Scotland recorded one coronavirus death and 133 new cases in the past 24 hours, according to the latest data.
The death toll under this daily measure – of people who first tested positive for the virus within the previous 28 days – is now 7,653.
Scottish Government figures published on Tuesday show the daily test positivity rate is 1.0%, down from 1.7% on Monday, and a total of 225,479 people have now tested positive.
There were 81 people in hospital on Monday recently confirmed to have the virus, down 12 in 24 hours, and 11 patients in intensive care, a fall of one.
So far, 2,782,162 people in Scotland have received the first dose of a coronavirus vaccine and 1,102,690 have received their second dose.
Sturgeon issues call for coronavirus probe amid PM’s alleged ‘shameful’ comments
Nicola Sturgeon has reiterated her calls for a UK-wide public inquiry into the handling of the coronavirus pandemic following “shameful” remarks allegedly spoken by Boris Johnson.
Scotland’s First Minister argued that bereaved families deserve answers about the response to the pandemic in light of reports the Prime Minister said he would rather see “bodies pile high” than impose a third lockdown.
Mr Johnson has denied making the comments, although the claims have been corroborated to both the BBC and ITV.
But the SNP leader has now said grieving families will be “shocked, but not surprised” by Mr Johnson’s alleged remarks.
Issuing a call for a public inquiry, Ms Sturgeon said: “Given the reported comments from the Prime Minister, it is more important than ever that families have answers, and it is shameful that the UK Government denied their request on the same day that they will have seen and heard these abhorrent remarks.
“These apparent comments relate to human life, to people’s family and friends, and that should never be forgotten.
“Most people will be shocked but not surprised by what the Prime Minister is reported to have said, but for the families who have lost loved ones, reading these comments will be deeply distressing.
“I expect the Scottish Government to be scrutinised on our actions and am committed to establishing a public inquiry this year – the UK Government must commit to the same.”
Premier Inn boss welcomes Covid passports to end lockdowns
The CEO of Premier Inn’s owner Whitbread is in favour of Covid passports for helping major sporting and music events to reopen.
Alison Brittain also explained that a full-scale recovery for her business, which took a £1 billion loss in the year of Covid, will not happen until lockdown restrictions ease.
She said: “I do like the idea of passports for large sporting events… If that is the only way we can get those events back by having a safe environment in that way then I’m all for it. It’s quite hard to just do a socially distanced way of managing a big pop concert or sporting event.
“So, that’s an area I would be very pro the passporting arrangements in order to have those events return for those industries that have been incredibly badly hit through the pandemic, but then also through all the add-on places like hotels and restaurants that support them.”
Deaths involving Covid-19 in England and Wales have fallen 97% since the peak of the second wave of the virus, new figures suggest.
Fiction sales surge during Covid lockdown as Britons rediscover books
Sales of fiction grew by 16% in 2020 as Covid lockdowns meant people “rediscovered their love of reading”, the Publishers Association said.
New figures from its Publishing In 2020 report show audiobook sales also ramped up last year, increasing by 37% to £133 million.
Other data shows print sales fell last year to £3.4 billion, down 6%, with bookshops among the businesses forced to shut as Covid restrictions were brought in, while digital sales were up 12% to £3 billion.
The growth of fiction sales, to £688 million, came on the back of releases including The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman, and The Boy, The Mole, The Fox And The Horse by Charlie Mackesy.
Stephen Lotinga, chief executive of the Publishers Association, said: “Publishing has proved incredibly resilient throughout the significant challenges of 2020.
“It’s clear that many people rediscovered their love of reading last year and that publishers were able to deliver the entertaining and thought-provoking books that so many of us needed.”
NHS ‘heroes’ to feature in Royal Society of Portrait Painters exhibition
The Royal Society of Portrait Painters is to showcase paintings of NHS workers in its annual exhibition.
The show, which features around 200 works, opens at London’s Mall Galleries next month.
A painting of a doctor outside London’s Nightingale Hospital by Melissa Scott-Miller is among the paintings that will go on display.
Kate Newington’s painting of a medic in PPE, titled Amanda, will also feature.
The exhibition “celebrates the diversity” of the genre of portraiture, according to a statement from the society.
A new £20,000 William Lock Portrait Prize will be awarded to one of the artists featured in the exhibition, in addition to the £10,000 Ondaatje Prize for Portraiture.
The exhibition runs from May 6 to 15.
Premier Inn owner sinks to £1bn loss in year of Covid restrictions
The owner of Premier Inn sank to a huge £1 billion loss in the past year as the extent of the impact from the Covid-19 lockdown was laid bare.
Whitbread said the loss was due to the vast majority of its estate being forced to shut for much of the first six months of the financial year ending February 25.
Subsequent restrictions following more recent lockdowns also hit the business, with occupancy levels at just 23% in January and 29% in February.
But bosses are hopeful that a boom in staycation bookings will help the company recover this summer, with business travel and event-led stays coming back to the sector later in the year.
They added that structural advantages – from rivals and smaller independents going bust – could also help future growth.
To try to capture more customers, the firm plans to invest £350 million in refurbishments and improvements, and new advertising fronted by comedian and actor Sir Lenny Henry will be launched – the first such campaign for three years.
Chief executive Alison Brittain said: “The vaccination programme in the UK means we can look forward to the planned relaxation of Government restrictions as we move into summer, with the first major milestone being the return of leisure guests to our hotels, and the full reopening of restaurants from 17 May.
“We expect a significant bounce in leisure demand in our tourist locations during the summer, followed by a gradual recovery in business and event-driven leisure demand.”
Boris Johnson urges public to be ‘realistic’ about future UK Covid wave
Boris Johnson has urged the public to be “realistic” about the prospect of the UK being hit with another wave of coronavirus infections in the future.
The Prime Minister told broadcasters that while lockdowns meant the virus was now “under control”, he warned that “there probably will be another wave of the disease”.
But Mr Johnson said that coronavirus jabs would provide “pretty robust fortifications” should there be another spike in infections going forward, as he hailed the UK’s vaccination programme.
He urged the public to take up the vaccine when offered it, with a Government campaign calling on people aged 50 and under to get their jab so the UK can “continue on the path back to normality”.
It comes as the Prime Minister denied saying he was prepared to let “bodies pile high” rather than order another lockdown, amid a bitter briefing war that has hit Downing Street.
Pub owners call for clarity over ‘muddled’ guidance as sector reopens
The owners of a Glasgow bar have said the industry needs clarity in the guidance issued by the Scottish Government as the sector reopens.
Restrictions were eased on Monday, meaning customers can return to bars and drink outdoors, but there has been some confusion expressed by business owners over social distancing in recent weeks.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon dispelled the worries as “myths”, adding just one metre should be left between people from different households, the same as during the first easing of restrictions last year.
Colin Clydesdale, co-owner of the Ubiquitous Chip, said he needed “longitudinal tables” to work out how many people would be allowed to sit in the bar’s outdoor spaces at any one time.
He told the PA news agency on Monday he agreed with the need for a lockdown but said: “Some of (the guidance) has been absolutely on the money and brilliant and necessary, and I get it all.
“But, from our point of view, it’s been a long, hard slog and a lot of what we’re facing at the moment is very, very muddled.
“We don’t entirely know what we’re meant to be complying with – we’re trying our very best – so how the customers know I’m not sure.
“You actually need some sort of longitudinal table to actually work out how many customers you can have in or out and what denomination of – it’s not easy but we’ll get there.”
Willie Rennie calls for Covid inquiry interim report to be ready in six months
Scotland’s coronavirus inquiry should publish its initial report within six months of the Holyrood elections, Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie has insisted.
While First Minister and SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon has said an inquiry into what happened with the pandemic should start before the end of 2021, Mr Rennie called for an interim report to be published by then.
An inquiry should be set up on “day one” after next week’s election, the Scottish Liberal Democrat leader said.
He insisted this was necessary as Scotland looks to rebuild after the pandemic, as restrictions again start to be eased.
Mr Rennie stated: “Scotland has had one of the highest per capita death rates in the entire world. We know that in part this was due to major errors surrounding the handling of care homes, shortages of PPE and a lack of capacity for testing and contact tracing.
“As coronavirus restrictions start to ease again, we must put recovery first and ensure the same mistakes are never repeated.
“That is why Scottish Liberal Democrats are calling for the coronavirus inquiry to be set up on day one after the election so we can start learning lessons now.”