Nicola Sturgeon briefing RECAP: Follow here for the Scottish Government updates on coronavirus

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The First Minister has defended care home policy over transfer of Covid patients.

It has been over one month since the last recorded death in Scotland.

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There were 26 new positive cases on Tuesday bringing the total to 19,368.

Coronavirus in Scotland LIVE

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

Last updated: Tuesday, 18 August, 2020, 12:58

  • The First Minister has defended the care home policy over transfer of Covid patients
  • A Coupar Angus factory has been closed after several members of staff tested positive. 
  • New research has shown that masks are ‘tremendously effective’ at curbing Covid spread. 

Nicola Sturgeon defends care home policy over transfer of Covid patients

Nicola Sturgeon has defended Scottish Government guidance after it emerged dozens of elderly hospital patients were transferred to care homes after testing positive for Coronavirus

Questions remain for Williamson after u-turn on English school grades

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson is facing calls for clarity for students and universities after his major U-turn over GCSE and A-level grades in England.

Mr Williamson back-tracked to say results estimated by teachers could be used after mounting anger over the downgrading of about 40% of A-level grades by exams regulator Ofqual on the basis of a controversial algorithm.

The Cabinet minister apologised for the "distress" caused by the abandoned policy which was intended to give fair results to pupils who could not sit exams because of the coronavirus crisis.

Tory MP and chair of the education select committee Robert Halfon wrote in The Sun: "This is a mega mess. But it is better to right something that is wrong than proceed with disaster."

Depression ‘doubled’ during pandemic

The number of adults experiencing depression has almost doubled during the coronavirus pandemic, new figures suggest.

Data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) showed that nearly one in 10 (9.7%) British adults suffered some sort of depression between July 2019 and March 2020.

But when the same group was assessed again in June, the figure had risen to 19.2% - nearly one in five.

The majority (84%) of people experiencing some sort of depression cited stress and anxiety affecting their wellbeing, and 42% said their relationships had been affected.

The ONS research examined data from the same 3,500 British adults both before and during the pandemic.

Statisticians found those most likely to say they had been affected by depression in June were younger adults (aged 16 to 39), women, those "unable to afford an unexpected expense", and disabled people.

Depressive symptoms include low mood and loss of interest and enjoyment in ordinary things.

Researchers also examined the levels of depression - which are classed as mild, moderate or severe depression.

One in eight adults (12.9%) developed moderate to severe depressive symptoms during the pandemic, while 6.2% already were already experiencing symptoms at this level.

Of those experiencing moderate to severe depressive symptoms during the pandemic, 62% said they felt lonely "often or always", compared with 15% of those with no or mild depressive symptoms.

Just 3.5% saw an improvement during the same timeframe.

Tim Vizard, from the ONS, said: "Today's research provides an insight into the mental health of adults during the coronavirus pandemic.

"Revisiting this same group of adults before and during the pandemic provides a unique insight into how their symptoms of depression have changed over time.

"Nearly one in five adults were experiencing some form of depression during the pandemic, almost doubling from around one in 10 before.

"Adults who are young, female, unable to afford an unexpected expense or disabled were the most likely to experience some form of depression during the pandemic."

Prince Charles sends message of support to Australians amid coronavirus second wave

The Prince of Wales said Australians are made of "tough stuff" as he recorded a message of support for people facing a resurgence of coronavirus in Victoria.

Charles - a future king of the Commonwealth country - said the second wave would have "heartbreaking consequences" for so many, but that the state would emerge stronger than ever.

"I just wanted to say, on behalf of my wife and myself, that you are so much in our special thoughts at what I can well imagine is a tremendously testing and frustrating time, and that we care deeply for what you are having to go through," he said.

Melbourne, the state's capital, has been in lockdown for more than a month, with strict measures now in place, including a night-time curfew.

Victoria still has more than 7,000 active Covid-19 cases and remains Australia's worst concern.

Jobs fears as third of shielding staff uncomfortable over workplace return

Thousands of jobs could be lost because shielding employees do not feel safe to return to their workplace, charities are warning.

Vulnerable staff have "grave concerns" that they will be forced to risk their health by returning to workplaces which will not protect them from coronavirus.

Eleven charities are calling for the Government to introduce a furlough-style scheme for shielding and high-risk workers to avoid job losses.

This would apply to people deemed by a clinician to be medically vulnerable and unable to return to their workplace safely.

Around 623,000 clinically extremely vulnerable people were working before receiving shielding guidance from the Government.

This advice ended on August 1 and the Government's Job Retention Scheme is due to end on October 31.

Scottish Government update: 49 new cases, 3 patients in intensive care and again, no new deaths in Scotland.

FM: Community clusters in North Glasgow and Lanarkshire are not school based clusters, despite a few school children testing positive. The virus is not thought to have transferred through school.

FM: Links in community clusters to indoor social events.

FM: If everyone is at a house party, the virus will spread through that party. 

Reiterates coronavirus guidelines. 

FM: “These rules are not easy, I really do understand that”

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