Coronavirus in Scotland LIVE: Nicola Sturgeon discusses social interaction rules on first day of lockdown easing

Keep up-to-date with all the key developments unfolding across Scotland and the UK.

Today is the first day of Scotland’s Phase One lockdown easing. Follow the most important updates throughout the day here.

Coronavirus in Scotland

Coronavirus in Scotland LIVE: latest updates on Scottish Covid-19 cases

Key Events

  • Scotland wakes to first day of Phase One of lockdown easing
  • PM criticised for blocking questions to scientific advisers
  • Nicola Sturgeon warns she will reverse lockdown easing if new guidelines are ignored
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George Eustace warns people shielding will have to continue

George Eustice has warned that those shielding from coronavirus may have to continue to do so “for several more months”.

Asked about ways to make life easier for those who are shielding, the Environment Secretary told LBC: “Well it is something that we are looking at because we completely recognise that those who are shielded and clinically vulnerable who have been told to isolate and not to see friends and family at all, that is going to start taking its toll on them and we want to be able to find ways to be able to do that.

“But it is very, very difficult because they are clinically vulnerable and nobody obviously wants to visit family in that group and find that they’ve given them the virus.

“So we don’t have answers yet, that’s why they have to remain shielded for the time being, possibly for several more months.”

He added that it is “a difficult situation with that shielded cohort”.

Demands mount for clarity over Nike conference virus tracing

Demands for the Scottish Government to “come clean” on the handling of the Nike conference coronavirus outbreak have stepped up a gear after the Chief Medical Officer appeared to admit guidelines had been changed as a result of failures to trace people who had interacted with infected delegates.

At yesterday’s daily government briefing Nicola Sturgeon again defended the public health experts, whom she said she relied on to carry out “rigorous” and “tried and tested” contact tracing, despite the revelation that an Edinburgh kilt shop worker had fallen ill after fitting five delegates, but had been unaware of the virus outbreak involving the conference attendees until after it had been exposed by the BBC.

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Compulsory face coverings 'difficult to enforce and would need new laws'

Forcing passengers to wear face coverings on buses and trains would require new laws and could be difficult to enforce, ministers have told The Scotsman.

Transport secretary Michael Matheson said he was confident most people would comply with the “expectation” that they wore a covering.

Passengers are also expected to bring their own coverings, but Caledonian Sleeper has started providing them and ScotRail is considering it.

New Scottish Government guidance said operators “may wish to have their own stocks available as an initial encouragement to those passengers without face coverings”.

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John Swinney tells of pain after mother died at the start of lockdown

Speaking on BBC Radio, Scotland’s deputy First Minister urged people to “stick with” the lockdown for a little longer, saying that everyone had struggled with difficult decisions over the past 10 weeks. 

"My mum died just at the beginning of lockdown, and I’ve not seen my dad since we went to my mum’s funeral at the end of March.

“I’m desperate to sit in my dad’s garden and see him face to face,” Mr Sweeney said.

“But everybody has had to face up to these difficulties as we’ve wrestled with lockdown. And people have been really really good, and we’re just asking them to stick with it for a bit longer.”

Nicola Sturgeon tweets

Brian Cox plays Ian Rankin's Rebus in new short film set in lockdown Edinburgh

Hollywood star Brian Cox has transformed himself into the grizzled detective John Rebus for a one-off short film set in lockdown Edinburgh.

Written by author Ian Rankin, it shows the character complaining about being imprisoned in his own home due to his fragile health, railing against the idea of keeping in touch with anyone via "Zoom," bemoaning the fact he is unable to go to the pub and pining to spend more time with his long-time colleague Siobhan Clarke.

Rankin, who recently finished work on the 23rd Rebus novel, wrote the script for the short film for a National Theatre of Scotland project uniting leading writers with actors and theatre-makers.

The 10-minute film sheds intriguing new on light on Rebus's true feelings for Clarke, which he has only begun to realise because contact between them has been so restricted during lockdown.

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UK’s excess deaths ‘highest in the world’

The UK has suffered the highest level of excess deaths during the coronavirus crisis of any country in the world, new analysis suggests.

Comparison of official figures from 19 governments compiled by the Financial Times has found that total excess deaths in the UK stand at 891 per million of population, higher than Italy, Belgium or Spain, the next worst-affected countries.

In terms of the total number of excess deaths, the UK sits behind only the United States, which has a much larger population.

Excess deaths in the UK are 65% above what would normally be expected at this time of year, the FT’s analysis suggests - an increase only surpassed by Peru, which suffered an outbreak of Dengue fever before being hit by coronavirus.

Because excess deaths in many European countries have now returned to normal after spiking during the height of the outbreak, the UK’s position as the worst affected country per million of population where data is available is unlikely to change.

However, comprehensive figures for excess deaths are not yet available for countries including China, Brazil and Russia, where large outbreaks of coronavirus have taken or are still taking place.

Scots pupils could be taught in mothballed theatres and geodomes

Scots pupils could be taught in "alternative venues" such as mothballed theatres, leisure centres, council offices and libraries when schooling returns, according to official guidance.

Social distancing measures mean that schools won't be able to accommodate all pupils at the same time when they go back in August and a Scottish Government blueprint published yesterday suggests that education bosses should look elsewhere to stage classes.

Education secretary John Swinney said it was for councils and schools to work out the best solutions that will work locally.

“The health and wellbeing of children and young people is our priority, which is why in implementing this guidance, we will adopt a cautious approach and monitor progress to inform decisions on further changes to restrictions," Mr Swinney said.

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Boris Johnson blocks scientific advisers from answering Dominic Cummings questions

Boris Johnson blocked his scientific advisers from answering questions about the row engulfing his top aide as police said Dominic Cummings had committed a “minor” breach of lockdown rules – but would face no further action.

At yesterday’s Downing Street press conference, the Prime Minister stopped Sir Patrick and Prof Whitty from commenting on Mr Cummings to “protect them” from a “political argument”.

It came after Durham Constabulary issued a statement on Mr Cummings’ travel to the county days after lockdown had been imposed, saying it did not consider that by locating himself at his father’s premises he committed an offence.

However, the force said it would have taken action if police officers had stopped Mr Cummings on a further 50-mile round trip to Barnard Castle, which he said he had made to test if he was well enough for the drive back to London.

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