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Live Reporting

BBC Scotland News

All times stated are UK

  1. Covid in Scotland: The headlines

    • Scotland's current Covid restrictions will remain in place "at least" until mid-February says deputy FM
    • A further 87 deaths have been recorded with Covid-19 in Scotland but there has been a small fall in hospital numbers
    • The number of people to have died with coronavirus in the UK has exceeded 100,000
    • Supplies of vaccines are "tight" but the UK believes it will receive enough doses to meet its targets, the vaccine minister has said
    View more on twitter
    • The education secretary announces £20m to support students facing hardship due to the pandemic
    • An announcement is due later from the UK government on quarantine hotel stays - Mr Swinney says a four-nation approach could be taken
    • The economic impact of Covid was cushioned by furlough measures, with the number of people looking for work in Scotland falling slightly during the autumn, new figures show

    That's it for today, we'll back tomorrow with live coverage of the latest statements and briefings on the state of the pandemic.

  2. 'Support for self-isolation must be improved', says Harvie

    Patrick Harvie

    Scottish Greens co-leader Patrick Harvie says he welcomes progress towards a new quarantine policy for new international arrivals - and in particular, the use of quarantine hotels.

    He says this policy "has been successful in many other countries".

    Mr Harvie asks if the availability of hotel capacity will place a limit on the number of daily arrivals to ensure people are not coming into the country when there is nowhere to send them to.

    He also says international travel involves a "relatively small number of people at the moment" while a bigger issue remains supporting people living in Scotland to self-isolate.

    Mr Swinney says the issue of quarantine hotels is being actively looked at by the Scottish government - and there is "quite clearly capacity within the hotel sector given the absence of tourism and business travel activity at the moment".

    On self-isolation, Mr Swinney says the government is "looking afresh" to determine whether the support already being given "is adequate".

  3. GPs must be confident about vaccine supplies, says deputy FM

    Willie Rennie

    Willie Rennie says Scotland is around 140,000 vaccines behind where we should be compared with the equivalent in England.

    The Scottish Lib Dem leader is concerned the vaccination programme is getting slower, as it speeds up in England.

    He asks if the deputy first minister is really denying he has any vaccines in storage that could be with GPs.

    Mr Swinney replies there are obviously vaccines that are being distributed to GPs at the moment.

    The deputy first minister points out doctors must be confident about the supply of vaccines.

  4. Swinney: We will enhance education support as each week goes by

    “The government has put in place a huge amount of support to assist the delivery of education at a local level”, Mr Swinney adds in further response to Jackie Baillie's question.

    The deputy FM says the government’s actions have been endorsed by the Education Recovery Group – which includes local authorities.

    “We will continue to enhance support as each week goes by”, says Mr Swinney.

    He thanks members of the teaching profession for the “extraordinary efforts” they have made to make sure that young people are well supported by remote learning.

  5. Government accused of 'sitting on' £800m of UK funding


    Labour’s Jackie Baillie also asks about concerns over home schooling and the pressure it is putting on parents.

    She says children are “simply falling through the gap” because of problems with IT and a lack of adequate broadband.

    Ms Baillie says locals councils are also under extreme pressure - with total budget gaps of £767m as a result of Covid.

    She asks “why the Scottish government is sitting on £800m of unspent money” from the UK government for Covid-related expenditure.

    Mr Swinney says Ms Baillie’s take on education in Scotland is “far from reality”.

    The deputy FM points to money being allocated to recruit 1,400 additional teachers and 2,000 additional support staff.

    He says, in total, £70m has been allocated to increase recruitment and improve connectivity for pupils “the length and breadth of the country”.

  6. Call for end of 'postcode lottery' on vaccines


    Mr Greene says the key problem stopping pupils from getting back to classrooms remains the “slow rollout of the vaccine” and half a million does remaining unused.

    He calls on the Scottish government to publish every health board’s vaccination plans and end the “postcode lottery” for jabs.

    Mr Swinney reiterates the government statement that “there are not 500,000 doses of the vaccine in our hands in Scotland”.

    He says the country’s full allocation will be drawn down as soon as the distributors are able to deliver them.

    Mr Swinney insists “ we are on course” to complete the vaccination of all over 80-year-olds by the end of the first week in February – while appointment dates are now being sent out to the over-70s.

  7. 'Parents and pupils are still being let down' says Tory MSP

    Jamie Greene

    Conservative MSP Jamie Greene asks the deputy first minister about the learning experience of half of school pupils being described as “not satisfactory”.

    Plans for online learning are still “letting down many parents and pupils”, he adds.

    He calls for all pupils to be given access to the online learning experience they deserve “to stop the attainment gap from growing even wider”.

    The deputy first minister says there has been a “strengthening” of the learning on offer.

    “Our educators are doing everything they possibly can do to make sure the needs of our children and young people in their own classrooms are adequately met."

    There is “huge progress being made”, adds Mr Swinney.

  8. Follow FACTS says deputy first minister

    "Follow the FACTS advice at all times when you are out and about," Mr Swinney says.

    Forgotten them? Fear not here's a reminder:

  9. Transmission, hospital figures and vaccines key to easing restrictions

    Lisa Summers

    BBC Scotland Health Correspondent

    Covid ward

    There are three key things the government will want to see before it can put any timetable on easing restrictions.

    They want to be sure that community transmission is down and the virus is under control. With a more contagious variant now dominant in Scotland, they don't want to risk a rapid surge in cases when people begin to interact more.

    They need to know that the numbers of Covid patients in hospital is significantly coming down. This weekend was the first time this year that we saw a fall, but it was only small. And more than 400 people died last week - that is the biggest figure of this second wave. Doctors say improvements in treatment mean some patients also require hospital care for longer.

    The other factor will be allowing time for the vaccination programme to really ramp up. It's only when our most vulnerable population have some immunity from severe illness that officials can be confident the NHS will cope.

    There is still so much to understand about the virus and so many factors to balance about the wider implications for society as the lockdown continues but it is likely to be very slow and tentative steps.

  10. 'Very strict restrictions continue to be necessary'

    stay safe template

    Ultimately the vaccination programme and restrictions offer us a way out of this pandemic, the deputy first minister says.

    However the very strict restrictions continue to be necessary and those who have had the vaccine must continue to follow the rules.

  11. Vaccinations should start to reduce the number of people who die from Covid

    man getting vaccine

    Turning to the vaccination programme, Mr Swinney explains:

    • more than half of those aged 80 or over have had the first dose of the vaccine
    • 95% of older care home residents have had the first dose
    • 95% of frontline health and social care workers have had the first jab

    Mr Swinney points out letters are going out to people in the age group 70 to 79 years old.

    He says the government wants to give everyone in that group the first jab by the middle of February.

    Vaccinations should start to reduce the number of people who die from Covid, he adds.

  12. Eligibility for self-isolating cash support could be extended

    John Swinney

    The Scottish government will make an announcement soon on extending eligibility for financial support for those self-isolating, says Mr Swinney.

    Quote Message: Providing help for those who most need it, while they are self-isolating, is clearly the right thing to do. And it will also help us to keep the virus under control. It is one of the ways in which we can strengthen our test and protect system in the weeks and months ahead. from John Swinney Deputy First Minister
    John SwinneyDeputy First Minister
  13. Border control statement due from PM this afternoon

    View more on twitter

    The deputy first minister points out border controls work best on a four nation basis.

    The prime minister will make a statement on this issue later this afternoon.

  14. £20m further hardship support for students announced

    Mr Swinney turns to business support and help for students.

    The education secretary explains the government will provide £30m of support for colleges, universities and students.

    • £10m of that is for colleges and universities which have lost revenue
    • £20m is for further hardship support for students
  15. Remote learning for school pupils will continue

    child and parent

    Remote learning for school pupils will continue to be the default position, says Mr Swinney, who is also the education secretary.

    Plans for university and college students to have a staggered return are under constant review, he adds.

  16. BreakingNo changes to Scotland's current lockdown measures

    John Swinney

    Despite some encouraging signs, case numbers are still far too high with the NHS under too much strain, explains John Swinney.

    He adds: "The position in Scotland remains precarious."

    The cabinet has decided not to make any changes to the current lockdown measures, says Mr Swinney.

    "They will remain in place at least until the middle of February."