Nicola Sturgeon at FMQs LIVE: Coronavirus update at Holyrood as First Minister to face questions about vaccine rollout

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Coronavirus in Scotland

Coronavirus in Scotland LIVE: Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Key Events

  • 92 further deaths and 1,656 new cases reported on Wednesday
  • Sturgeon defends ‘slow’ Scottish Covid-19 vaccine rollout
  • Covid deaths reported at West Lothian care home
  • Private hospitals to treat NHS patients in Scotland
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There were 6,324 more deaths in Scotland in 2020 than the average over the previous five years, according to the National Records of Scotland (NRS).

Lennon’s defence of Celtic Dubai trip ‘absolutely appalling

Deputy First Minister John Swinney has said he was “at a loss for words” after Celtic boss Neil Lennon defended the club’s controversial trip to Dubai.

It comes amid the ongoing row over Celtic’s decision to fly to the country for a winter training camp at a time when Scots are being told to stay at home unless absolutely necessary.

Lennon, his assistant John Kennedy, another member of staff and 13 players at the club had to isolate following the trip after defender Christopher Jullien tested positive for coronavirus – with another player now also confirmed as having the virus.

Mr Swinney has previously criticised the club’s decision to travel, while First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has questioned whether the trip was essential, adding she had doubts “based on some pictures I’ve seen whether adherence to bubble rules was strict enough”.

Photos emerged on social media showing members of the Celtic squad not distancing or wearing face coverings while in Dubai.

Lennon hit back at the club’s critics on Monday, insisting: “We did not abuse any ‘privilege’, we did the right things, we were totally professional.

“We had a little drink in the afternoon on the day off, completely allowed, no law breaking. Yet now we come back to this barrage of absolute hypocrisy.”

He insisted the club had been “held to a far higher standard than any other club”, and said “there seems to be some sort of agenda being driven here”.

When asked about Lennon’s comments on Wednesday, Mr Swinney said: “I am at a loss for words, frankly.”

Phased return to schools likely, says Education Secretary

The youngest and oldest pupils could return to school first as part of a phased resumption of face-to-face teaching being considered by the Scottish Government.

Education Secretary John Swinney stressed the return of pupils is “unlikely to be a binary choice – either everybody in or everybody out”.

Pupils with additional support needs could also return in this first group, with Mr Swinney acknowledging their situation while learning from home can be “really quite challenging”.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon confirmed on Tuesday that schools will remain closed to the majority of youngsters until at least the middle of February – with lockdown restrictions currently in place across most of the country also extended until then.

The Scottish Government will issue a further update on the situation at the start of next month, Ms Sturgeon said.

Only vulnerable pupils and the children of key workers are currently able to attend classes, while other children learn at home.

NHS Highland has £1.3m annual bill for Covid-hit care home

The UK records highest number of daily Covid deaths

Sturgeon defends Scottish Covid-19 vaccine rollout

Covid deaths reported at West Lothian care home

Private hospitals to treat NHS patients

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