LiveNicola Sturgeon coronavirus briefing RECAP: First Minister faced questions of lockdown easing routemap with stay-at-home order to remain until April

Follow here for all coronavirus updates from Scotland, the UK and around the world.

Coronavirus in Scotland: Follow here for all of Wednesday's updates.

Nicola Sturgeon outlined Scotland’s route out of lockdown yesterday.

She told the Scottish Parliament “if all goes according to plan” the country will move back to the levels system of coronavirus restrictions from April 26.

Sign up to our public interest bulletins - get the latest news on the Coronavirus

Sign up to our public interest bulletins - get the latest news on the Coronavirus

A message from the Editor:Thank you for reading this article. We're more reliant on your support than ever as the shift in consumer habits brought about by coronavirus impacts our advertisers.

If you haven't already, please consider supporting our trusted, fact-checked journalism by taking out a digital subscription.

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

Last updated: Thursday, 25 February, 2021, 07:41

  • Nicola Sturgeon said yesterday that despite criticism, the date for lifting the ‘stay at home’ message in Scotland is not vastly different to the date announced for the same step in England.
  • From the start of March, new guidance will recommend that all care homes that are able to, should assign each resident with two designated visitors.
  • The First Minister assured Scots that when they review the levels system, mental health and the impact on the economy will be taken into consideration.

Nearly two-thirds of disabled people are experiencing chronic loneliness during lockdown, a new study has found

The number is even higher among young disabled people - 70%, according to research by disability charity Sense.

It has sparked fears of a mental health crisis facing the population of 14.1 million disabled people living in the UK, after the charity said cases of loneliness has jumped by a quarter in the last year for those who were already disproportionately affected by the issue prior to the coronavirus outbreak.

Of the 1,011 disabled people surveyed between the January 20-22 this year, 37% said they were chronically lonely before the pandemic, rising to 54% for 16 to 24-year-olds.

Nearly two-thirds - 61% - of disabled people said they were now chronically lonely, after they described feeling lonely “always” or “often”.

The charity said feelings of chronic loneliness “go on for a long period of time”, whereby people suffer “constant and unrelenting feelings of being alone, separated or divided from others, and an inability to connect on a deeper level”.

What time is Nicola Sturgeon update today? How can I watch?

Ms Sturgeon will be answering questions from MSPs at Holyrood during First Minister’s Questions at around 12.30pm – and she is expected to give an update on Scotland’s latest Covid-19 figures prior to this.

Viewers can watch live on Scottish Parliament TV as well as the Scottish Government’s official Twitter page – @scotgov.

Rural Scotland could go straight to Level 2 after lockdown, says Nicola Sturgeon

Nicola Sturgeon had told Parliament on Tuesday that when the full lockdown ends on April 26, Scotland would enter a new tiered system at level three.

However, at her Covid-19 briefing on Wednesday she suggested rural areas may go straight into level two.

Ms Sturgeon also said she and education secretary John Swinney were trying to maximise the number of pupils who would return to schools from March 15, and that blended learning may allow more to get back to classrooms more quickly than the April date she had previously set out.

Read more here:

Rural Scotland could go straight to Level 2 after lockdown, says Nicola Sturgeon

Parts of Scotland could go into a less restrictive Covid level than others when lockdown is lifted at the end of April, the First Minister has revealed.

All adults on GP learning disability register to be prioritised for Covid-19 vaccine

All adults on the learning disabilities register should now be prioritised for a Covid vaccine, the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has advised the government and the NHS.

The JCVI has said the Government and NHS should now invite more people with learning difficulties to receive a coronavirus vaccination.

Those with severe learning disabilities are already included in priority group six, but adults with less severe conditions have not been included in the same group.

Read more here:

All adults on GP learning disability register to be prioritised for Covid vaccine

All those on the learning disabilities register should now be prioritised for a Covid vaccine, the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has advised the government and the NHS.

Jason Leitch ‘desperate to go’ to England v Scotland at Wembley in June

Professor Jason Leitch is "desperate" to watch Scotland play England in Wembley this Summer, but said he could not guarantee that fans would be able to attend.

Speaking at the Scottish Government’s daily briefing, the national clinical director also joked that Downing Street did not want Scots to travel to the game.

The two sides are set to clash on June 18, 2020.

Read more:

Jason Leitch ‘desperate to go’ to England v Scotland at Wembley in June

Professor Jason Leitch is “desperate” to watch Scotland play England in Wembley this Summer, but said he could not guarantee that fans would be able to attend.

Strong case for police being given vaccine priority, chief constable says

There is a "powerful case" for police officers and other key workers such as teachers to get priority for Covid-19 vaccines, Scotland's most senior police officer has said.

Chief Constable Iain Livingstone said hundreds of police officers and staff already have benefits from being given "surplus" vaccines - unused jabs which would otherwise have gone to waste.

He said he would continue to make the case to the Scottish Government that Police Scotland officers and staff should be a priority group, once the initial rollout of the vaccine to those aged 50 and above and those with underlying medical conditions has been completed.

The Chief Constable spoke as he gave his latest update to the Scottish Police Authority (SPA).

He stressed it was an "an absolute priority" for him to ensure the safety of his staff, saying this "goes to the core purpose of my duties as Chief Constable".

'We don't feel safe' - Edinburgh St James Quarter construction workers voice Covid safety measures fears

Construction workers on the site of Edinburgh's St James Quarter have alleged that Covid-19 safety measures in place are not adequate.

An Evening News article on Thursday revealed that fifty construction workers were self-isolating after 11 tested positive for the virus.

There are around 1,000 people in total working on the site which is set to open the first phase of its retail, dining and leisure elements in Spring of 2021.

Read more here:

'We don't feel safe' - Edinburgh St James Quarter construction workers voice Covid safety measures fears

Construction workers on the site of Edinburgh’s St James Quarter have alleged that Covid-19 safety measures in place are not adequate.

The UK’s Covid-19 vaccination rate is slowing down - will the target still be met?

The number of Covid-19 vaccines administered in the UK has fallen by over a third in a week, due to issues with supply and stockpiling.

On Monday (22 Feb), it was reported that 192,341 people received their first coronavirus vaccine dose, marking the second lowest daily number since January, 17.

The lowest daily number was reported the day prior, with 141,719 jabs marking the lowest number of vaccines administered since the UK began reporting daily totals, on January, 10.

Taking the total vaccines administered on Sunday and Monday, the number is 35 per cent lower than the figures for the same days in the previous week.

Read more here:

The UK's Covid vaccination rate is slowing down - will the target still be met?

The number of Covid vaccines administered in the UK has fallen by over a third in a week, due to issues with supply and stockpiling.

When do schools go back in Scotland? Dates for Scottish schools reopening - and when other pupils could return

Scottish schools started a phased return on Monday 22 February.

The youngest pupils headed back to classrooms first as part of the phased reopening announced by Nicola Sturgeon.

That included all children in primary one to three, and those in pre-school, heading back to classrooms.

As part of her roadmap out of lockdown, the First Minister set out an overall “cautious” approach to easing Covid restrictions over the next few weeks.

It came in the form of four phases, with the first phase beginning now with the partial reopening of schools.

There will be a “progressive easing” of the current Level 4 restrictions that apply across most of the country at intervals of at least three weeks.

Read more here:

Scottish schools have started a phased return - here's the dates for when other pupils could go back

Nicola Sturgeon unveiled her roadmap out of lockdown, including potential dates for the return of schools

Ms Sturgeon apologises for the daily coronavirus briefing being diverted with ‘other issues of the day’

She said: "I prefer to keep these briefings on Covid-19 but I hope you understand that when I'm asked questions about issues of the day that are fundamentally about me and my actions, it's also important that I tried to answer those questions as fully as I can.

"But I apologise to anybody who's frustrated at the fact that not all of these things was entirely about Covid-19, please stick to the rules for now, it's really difficult but we are making progress."

Ms Sturgeon said that she will set out next Tuesday, March, 2, what the next phase of school return will be.

She said: "I want to get as many young people back to school in that second phase from March, 15, as possible.

"And we're going through the work right now to with our clinical advisers to determine just exactly what that means.

"I hope a significantly increased number of secondary school pupils that are at least having blended learning, are back in school."

She said that is there is a requirement for a third phase to be introduced at the start of April, they will consider that.

She said they are focused at the moment on trying to maximise what they are able to achieve for young people by March 15.

'There is not a fibre of my being that wants one single restriction to be enforced for longer than necessary' says First Minister

Ms Sturgeon said: "I don't want a single business to be living with these restriction s longer than is necessary.

"Why would I keep a hotel closed for long than necessary.

"What possible motivation would I have to do that. I get judged on the state of the economy just as I get judged on anything else .

"I want the economy to start working again, I want people to be back at work, I want the country to be back to normal."

Care home visits to begin again in March

Speaking at the Scottish Government daily briefing, Ms Sturgeon said she recognised that the “inability to visit loved ones” during the lockdown had been “a source of anxiety, distress, and real trauma”, but said she hoped the new rules would be a “really important move forward.”

From the start of March, new guidance will recommend that all care homes that are able to, should assign each resident with two designated visitors.

Scottish care homes to allow 'designated' visitors from March, Sturgeon vows

Scots will be able to visit relatives in care homes from the beginning of March, according to First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.

Jason Leitch assures people that the broad harm from the response to covid-19 is as important as the response itself.

He said that schools have returned because research shows that those who suffer most are the youngest in the society over the medium to long term.

The First Minister said that the mental health of Scots is taken into consideration when they review the restrictions.

She said they look at the harms the virus poses but also the impact on the wider economy.

Alex Salmond should appear in front of the committee next week First Minister says, just as she is intending to.

Page 1 of 4