LiveNicola Sturgeon briefing LIVE: First Minister updates the country on coronavirus

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Quarantine has now been lifted for all Scots travelling back from Spain as more lockdown measured are eased.

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Monday saw positive cases in Scotland down by a third.

Coronavirus in Scotland LIVE

A major breakthrough has seen the country one step closer to a Covid-19 vaccine.

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Coronavirus in Scotland LIVE: Follow here for all Tuesday’s updates

Last updated: Tuesday, 21 July, 2020, 13:44

  • There has been a major breakthrough with the Covid-19 vaccine
  • The public are urged to maintain social distancing as lockdown measures are eased
  • Quarantine is now to be lifted for Scots returning from Spain

Ed Miliband warns thousands face receiving P45s if there is no furlough extension

Hundreds of thousands of workers face receiving P45s within days unless the Government extends the furlough scheme, Labour has warned.

The Government's job retention scheme is being wound down from August, with the Government moving from paying 80% of wages up to a cap of £2,500 to 60% up to a cap of £1,875 by October.

Employers will be expected to top up wages and pay other contributions as part of the changes.

Speaking in the Commons, shadow business secretary Ed Miliband said: "Yesterday, Make UK, the manufacturers' organisation, said a furlough extension was vital and I quote, 'to prevent a jobs bloodbath in aerospace and automotive'.

"We see the looming threat to sectors that have not yet reopened like events and exhibitions and those operating well below capacity like hospitality.

"Yet from next week, the Government is insisting that every single employer, whatever their industry, will have to start contributing to the furlough.

"Does the Business Secretary not recognise that this decision to phase out the furlough irrespective of circumstance risks handing a P45 to hundreds of thousands of workers?"

Business Secretary Alok Sharma replied: "The furlough scheme will have been up and running for a full eight months providing a huge amount of support to over nine million jobs and of course it is becoming more flexible, it is allowing people to return to work part-time.

"And (Mr Miliband) will also know the Chancellor (Rishi Sunak) set out the job retention bonus as well."

Labour former minister John Spellar added the UK faces a "tsunami of job losses".

England’s chief medical officer defends decision taken during pandemic

England's chief medical officer has launched a staunch defence of his actions over the Covid-19 pandemic, saying mass testing had to be abandoned due to capacity issues and lockdown came at about the right time.

In a heated exchange with former health secretary and chairman of the Health and Social Care Committee Jeremy Hunt, Professor Chris Whitty told MPs that widespread community testing earlier on in the pandemic required "an infrastructure we did not have".

Asked by Mr Hunt why he had not advised that testing be ramped up quickly in January or February, as had been done in "four weeks" recently, Prof Whitty said: "I respectfully differ.

"You are going to say I suspect at some point ... why is test, trace and isolate not brilliant now?

"This is after we've had huge investment and many months of preparation.

"The idea that you can suddenly switch this on, I'm afraid, is incorrect.

"The way you run emergencies badly is to try and run them based on a theory of what you could do rather than with the tools you have at your disposal.

"That is the way we had to run it and that is the way we did run it."

Prof Whitty told Mr Hunt that the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) had consistently said that more testing capacity was needed.

But he agreed that, given the capacity, it was the correct advice to stop widespread community testing on March 12.

Prof Whitty also said that ministers followed scientific advice with a "delay that was no more than you would reasonably expect".

FM reiterates that this is a Covid-19 briefing when asked about the Russia report, although adds that “we should not be complacence” about Russian interference, adding that the UK government not investigating Russian interference with Brexit. “could possibly be described as negligence”.

FM: “I want everyone in Scotland to be really vigilant” when it comes to public health advice

FM has said that the majority of the new cases today come from Lanarkshire, and some are likely to be connected with the call centre break out.

FM: As life starts to feel normal, there is a danger of people dropping their guard.

Scottish Government update: 22 new positive cases, 618 patients are in hospital and there were no deaths in the last 24 hours due to coronavirus.

A&E attendance in Scotland hits second highest level since lockdown began

Accident and emergency departments in Scotland saw the second highest number of patients since lockdown in the first full week of July, the latest figures indicate.

A total of 21,514 patients attended A&E over the seven-day period, up 999 on the week beginning June 29 and just 159 fewer than the highest number since the coronavirus crisis began.

For the fifth consecutive week, the percentage of patients seen within the Scottish Government's four-hour waiting time target was hit, matching the 95% standard in the week beginning July 6.

Attendance at A&E plummeted during March, falling to a record low of 11,059 patients in the final week of the month.

Since then, the number of Scots attending A&E has slowly increased, although the latest figures show attendance is still 5,611 down on the same point last year.

The new Public Health Scotland figures indicate 57 patients spent more than eight hours in an A&E department before being admitted for treatment, transferred or discharged.

A further four patients had to wait more than 12 hours.

Health Secretary Jeane Freeman said: "The latest weekly A&E waiting times figures show that for the week ending July 12 2020, 95.0% of patients were seen and treated within four hours.

"This is thanks to the ongoing hard work and dedication of staff in our NHS.

"As we move towards carefully and gradually resuming NHS services which were paused as a result of Covid-19, we've launched the Should you go to A&E? campaign to remind people that emergency departments remain open for those who need immediate or emergency care."

She added: "For those with less urgent concerns alternative treatment options are available which are often more convenient and closer to home.

"These include contacting your GP practice, or NHS24 on 111 out of hours, visiting a local pharmacy or NHS Inform online will provide advice and direct people to the most appropriate service.

"Do not ignore early warning signs of serious conditions - if you have new symptoms then it's vital you get this checked out."

Coronavirus is worse in cold weather, research suggests

Coronavirus may be more severe in colder months than warmer ones, and dry indoor air may encourage its spread, new research suggests.

Severe Covid-19 outcomes decreased as the pandemic progressed from winter to the warmer months, analysis indicates.

Experts warn that their findings paint a grim picture for the colder weather, when it is thought the disease may re-emerge.

Researchers analysed data from 6,914 patients admitted to hospital with Covid-19 in Croatia, Spain, Italy, Finland, Poland, Germany, the UK and China.

They mapped this against local temperature and estimated indoor humidity and found that severe outcomes - being taken to hospital, admittance to ICU or the need for ventilation - dropped in most European countries over the course of the pandemic, covering the transition from winter to early summer.

The study, which has not been peer-reviewed, suggests there was a corresponding decrease in the rate of deaths from the disease.

There was roughly a 15% drop in mortality for every one degree Celsius rise in temperature, the King's College London researchers say.

By contrast, the severity of symptoms and mortality rate remained constant in China during the first wave of the pandemic, which occurred solely throughout the winter.

The study also looked at data from more than 37,000 UK users of the Covid Symptom Study app reporting symptoms consistent with Covid-19.

It showed a similar decrease in the severity of reported symptoms from March through May as UK temperatures rose.

According to the researchers, the changes were too large to be explained by improvements in treatment of the disease, patient age or hospitals becoming overwhelmed during this time.

This suggests there is a seasonal influence on the virus.

Although the virus can clearly spread in hot, humid countries in East Asia, it is notable that the severity and mortality from the disease have been lower than in Europe and other more temperate climates, the paper suggests.

The researchers suggest indoor heating during the winter months may also contribute to the spread of the disease by drying out the protective mucus barrier within the nose and airways, making viral infection easier.

Dr Gordan Lauc, professor of biochemistry and molecular biology at the University of Zagreb and honorary visiting professor at King's College London, is senior author of the study.

He said: "Our findings point to a role for seasonality in the transmission and severity of Covid-19, and also argue for increased humidity and hydration as a way to combat the virus.

"This paints a grim picture for the next winter in Europe when more severe 'winter' Covid-19 is expected to return - something we are currently observing in the southern hemisphere."

Professor Tim Spector from King's College London, added: "This study highlights the importance of gathering long-term data about the incidence, symptoms and progression of Covid-19 from as many people as possible.

"By understanding the many factors that contribute to the severity and spread of the disease, we can implement effective measures to control it over the coming months."

Good Morning Britain host Kate Garraway reveals condition of her Covid-19 positive husband

Kate Garraway has revealed nurses told her that her stricken husband Derek Draper looked "focused and engaged" when they put Good Morning Britain on for him.

The 52-year-old was admitted to hospital in March after being diagnosed with coronavirus, and remains seriously ill.

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