LiveCoronavirus in Scotland RECAP: 51 deaths from Covid-19 and 958 positive cases in past 24 hours

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Coronavirus in Scotland LIVE: The latest updates on Thursday

Last updated: Thursday, 03 December, 2020, 08:37

  • Scotland records 51 deaths on Thursday
  • 958 positive cases reported
  • Christmas school holidays ruling expected this week
  • R number continues to be just below one

Pfizer vaccine due to arrive in UK as country grapples with rollout challenge

The first doses of the approved coronavirus vaccine are due to arrive in the UK on Thursday as the country battles with logistical challenges in administering it to those at the top of the priority list.

Professor Jonathan Van-Tam, deputy chief medical officer for England, confirmed the jab from Pfizer and BioNTech – approved by the UK medicines regulator on Wednesday – will hit British shores in “hours, not days”.

The UK became the first country in the world to give the go-ahead to the vaccine, paving the way for vaccinations to start next week.

The country has ordered 40 million doses of the Pfizer jab, enough to vaccinate 20 million people with two doses, given 21 days apart.

‘Vaccine won’t see life return to normal immediately’, says Professor Van-Tam

Professor Jonathan Van-Tam has warned that, even after people are vaccinated, they will not be able to return to normal life immediately.

“Until we are properly confident of how the vaccine works and properly confident that disease levels are dropping, even if you have had the vaccine, you are going to need to continue to follow all the rules that apply for a while longer,” the deputy chief medical officer told BBC 5 Live.

“It is not something we are going to leave people waiting on for ever but we have got to follow the science, we have got to see the data that gives us the assurance that we can tell people that they can relax in certain ways and have a fairly high degree of confidence that it is safe to do so.

“It is a new disease, it is a new vaccination programme. We have to take it step by step and see carefully what is going to be unlocked for us. What can be unlocked will be unlocked but we have to take it really carefully in the first instance.”

Jersey has announced new circuit-breaker restrictions with all hospitality venues and indoor sports facilities to close.

Pfizer vaccine news is not the end of Covid-19 restrictions, health experts warn

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Pfizer vaccine news is not the end of Covid-19 restrictions, health experts warn

The beginning of a vaccination programme in Scotland will not mean the end of social distancing, face masks and lockdown restrictions for some time, health experts have warned.

Aldi has announced it will hand over around £100 million saved in business rates relief, following similar moves by Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Morrisons.

First wave of Covid-19 vaccinations could be completed by spring – Freeman

The first big wave of Covid-19 vaccinations in Scotland could be completed by the spring, the health secretary has said.

Those giving the vaccine, people aged over 80 and health and social care workers will be the first to receive the Pfizer and BioNTech vaccine, which the UK became the first country in the world to approve for use on Wednesday.

Health Secretary Jeane Freeman MSP said Scotland will receive 8.2% of the 800,000 doses (just over 65,500) in the first delivery secured by the UK, with more to come in the weeks ahead.

The first coronavirus vaccines in Scotland will be administered on Tuesday.

She told BBC Good Morning Scotland that the doses will go to the 23 commercial-size freezers in acute hospitals around Scotland which can hold the vaccine in the very low temperature it requires.

Sainsbury’s will hand back around £440 million saved from the Government’s business rates holiday a day after Tesco said it would hand over £585 million and £274 million by Morrisons.

Most care home residents will need to wait for new Covid-19 jab, says NHS chief

Most care home residents will need to wait for their Covid-19 vaccine because of difficulties in transporting the newly-approved jab, the head of the NHS has said.

On Thursday, the UK became the first country in the world to give the go-ahead to the vaccine from Pfizer and BioNTech, paving the way for vaccinations to start next week.

But the recommendation from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), which advises ministers, that care home residents and staff should be the top priority cannot yet be fully carried out.

Sir Simon Stevens, chief executive of NHS England, said the jab has to be stored at such low temperatures that it can only be moved a few times. Each pack of doses cannot be easily split and the 975 doses they contain would be too many for individual care homes, meaning the vaccine would be wasted.

Sir Simon told a Downing Street briefing that the first people to receive the jab from 50 hospital hubs next week would be the over-80s, care home staff and others identified by the JCVI who may already have a hospital appointment.

GP practices will then operate local vaccination centres as more vaccine becomes available and, if regulators give approval for a safe way of splitting packs, care homes will receive stocks, he added.

He said it would take until March or April for the entire at-risk population to be vaccinated.

Doorstep Carols can help people safely celebrate Christmas, says church minister

A Church of Scotland minister has called for a nationwide Christmas carol concert to take place on people’s doorsteps to safely get around lockdown restrictions.

Rev Mike Goss is urging households to gather in front of their homes for Doorstep Carols on December 20 at 6pm so it is anything but a Silent Night.

With Covid-19 restrictions curtailing traditional door-to-door singing, he appealed for the streets to be filled with classics like Away in a Manger and O Come, All Ye Faithful to send out a strong message that Christmas is “not cancelled”.

The minister of Barry Parish Church and Carnoustie Church in Angus said: “People are understandably feeling gloomy because the impact of restrictions will almost certainly mean that Christmas will look different this year.

“But the true meaning is still the same and I hope that family groups and people in bubbles coming out on to their doorsteps, ensuring they are standing two metres away from their neighbours, will provide a sense of joy, peace and comfort.”

PM acknowledges ‘immense logistical challenges’ of vaccine rollout

The Prime Minister has warned of the “immense logistical challenges” in distributing the newly approved coronavirus vaccine as it emerged that most care home residents will need to wait for their jab.

The UK became the first country in the world to give the go-ahead to the vaccine from Pfizer and BioNTech on Wednesday, paving the way for vaccinations to start next week.

But the recommendation from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), which advises ministers, that care home residents and staff should be the top priority cannot yet be fully carried out.

Sir Simon Stevens, chief executive of NHS England, said the jab has to be stored at such low temperatures that it can only be moved a few times. Each pack of doses cannot be easily split and the 975 doses they contain would be too many for individual care homes, meaning the vaccine would be wasted.

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