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Live Reporting

BBC Scotland News

All times stated are UK

  1. Covid in Scotland: The headlines

    • First Minister Nicola Sturgeon confirms a record 6,835 people have tested positive for Covid - 14.2% of the tests carried out on Thursday.
    • There are 479 people in hospital with recently confirmed Covid-19 (up 53) and 47 in intensive care (no change).
    • Four further deaths were recorded in the past 24 hours of people who tested positive in the previous 28 days.
    • A total of 4,095,463 people in Scotland have received their first dose of the vaccine and, in addition, 3,629,482 have had their second dose.
    • Ms Sturgeon says case numbers are rising across the UK just now, but in Scotland it is particularly sharp, perhaps due to schools returning earlier.
    • She says the figures are still "a cause for concern" as, in the past seven days, the number of positive tests have doubled.
    • The first minister describes some of the speculation in the media is "not accurate" and confirms the government is "not currently considering a circuit breaker lockdown".
    • Prof Jason Leitch says that it is right that major events, such as the Old Firm match, are going ahead as long as organisers take precautions.
    • The national clinical director also says people should be vaccinated, take a test before they go, abide by the guidance and wear their face covering further than the law requires them.
    • The first minister says she "really hopes" the JCVI will soon recommend the vaccination for all 12 to 15-year-olds.
    • Immunisation expert Dr Christine Tait-Burkhard tells BBC Scotland that hospitalisation figures go up about a week after large rises in case numbers, so we should expect a spike next week.
    • The first minister says projections for hospitalisations are a real worry as hospitals are not cleared for Covid patients as they were in April last year.
    • Scottish Conservative MSP Craig Hoy says the public need "ongoing clarity" from the Scottish government around the potential for future restrictions.
    • And Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar calls for a "ramp up" of the vaccine rollout to combat soaring case numbers.
  2. 'Face coverings in schools may last longer than six weeks'

    school pupils

    The Press Association asks about schools and vaccinating 12 to 15-year-olds, mentioning the BBC's report on the continuation of mitigations within schools.

    Ms Sturgeon says she has to consider the continued implications of rising cases, but her key message is that if we all act in line with the advice we have a chance of slowing transmission.

    On face coverings, she says she thinks it is an essential mitigation. This will be reviewed before the end of the initial six weeks proposed, and the rule may well remain for longer if that is deemed necessary.

    But it will not be enforced a moment longer than is required, the FM says

  3. Hospitalisations are 'a real worry'

    hospital patient

    The FM answers a question about projections for hospitalisations and says they are a real worry.

    She says concern is higher because hospitals are not cleared for Covid patients as they were in April last year. The margin for a surge to overwhelm the NHS is now smaller, the first minister adds.

    This is "being watched carefully", Ms Sturgeon says.

  4. FM 'actively considering' vaccine passports for some events

    vaccine passports

    A question from The Sun next about vaccine passports for events, and whether the surge in cases plus the return of universities and colleges will make this a possibility.

    The FM says she is "actively considering" this. She says there are ethical and practical considerations but it may be an added layer of protection and mitigation worth looking at for optional places - but not essential services.

    She says she will not rule it out and an app which will soon be launched to ease vaccine certification may help this.

  5. Is there an 'endgame' to the pandemic?

    Questions continue at St Andrews House, with the Telegraph asking about what the "endgame" is out of Covid and if we will continue on a cycle of rising cases.

    Ms Sturgeon says she cannot answer that. She says vaccines have introduced more normality and helped ease restrictions in our lives.

    Vaccines will reduce the chance of becoming seriously ill, the FM adds, but they are not perfect and not "a magic wand".

    She says it is "unthinkable" what the situation would be without them.

    And she says it is not certain that in the future that she won't have to reintroduce restrictions.

    But Ms Sturgeon adds that we have made progress while facing a "horrible, infectious virus".

  6. Analysis

    FM urges 'voluntary action' to prevent return of restrictions

    David Wallace Lockhart

    BBC Scotland political reporter

    Women wearing face masks

    We’ve seen record high figures this week, but the vaccination programme has disrupted the link between catching Covid and ending up in hospital.

    But if case numbers get too high, even a small proportion of people becoming seriously ill can pose a challenge for the NHS.

    So it’s the number of people becoming “seriously ill” that will now define the path we take. And, crucially, whether restrictions have to come back.

    The first minister is ruling out the harshest of restrictions – a circuit breaker lockdown. She’s actually hopeful that we can get through this without any additional measures.

    We’re being asked to take voluntary action: meet outdoors, avoid crowds and limit physical contact.

    But that leaves the public in a slightly strange position – being asked to not take full advantage of the freedoms we were granted just a few weeks ago.

    Voluntary action now can help avoid more rules in the near future. That’s Nicola Sturgeon’s message for the weekend.

  7. Sarwar: 'Introduce door-to-door vaccination for low-uptake areas'

    anas sarwar

    Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar tells the BBC programme that it is a concern to see the daily case numbers go over 6,000.

    He is also concerned about hospitalisations increasing by 53 in the past 24 hours.

    He says there are opportunities, particularly around the vaccine, and how we "ramp up" the rollout of the vaccine is crucial.

    Mr Sarwar wants to get the vaccine out to people via mobile units and setting up at university campuses and high schools rather than encouraging people to come forward for the vaccine.

    And he even suggests door-to-door vaccination for areas with a low uptake.

  8. Tory MSP Hoy: 'We have to learn to live with Covid'

    craig hoy

    Scottish Conservative MSP Craig Hoy says, while the numbers are a "cause for concern", we should "take comfort" from the fact that rising case numbers are not translating into hospitalisations.

    He tells BBC Scotland's Coronavirus Update programme: "I think it talks to the point that we are going to have to expect the numbers to rise and fall and that's because we have to learn to live with Covid, in our schools, in our places of work, in our communities and in our NHS."

    Mr Hoy adds that the public need "ongoing clarity" from the Scottish government around the potential for future restrictions.

    He also accuses the administration of being "too slow" to reach out to young people to get fully vaccinated.

  9. Booster jabs could 'tickle' immune system of the vulnerable

    older person jabbed

    Dr Tait-Burkhard hopes the vaccine is still "relatively fresh" in most people, but says that elderly and immuno-compromised patients can react less well to the vaccine and that is why booster vaccines are being considered.

    She says they could "tickle" the immune system to give those at risk another protection level for Covid.

    She goes on to say she hopes we will not reach a trigger point where restrictions would be reintroduced.

    But hospitals "are vulnerable", already having an overworked workforce and Dr Tait-Burkhard says a sudden influx of Covid patients would cause a "perfect storm" which could see them unable to cope.

  10. 'Expect a rise in hospitalisations next week', says health expert

    Immunisation expert Dr Christine Tait-Burkhard tells the BBC Scotland programme that hospitalisation figures go up about a week after large rises in case numbers, so they have to be taken as a sign of what is to come.

    She says we should expect a rise in hospitalisation next week.

    Dr Tait-Burkhard says we can mitigate this by limiting the spread of the virus in the community.

    She also mentions that a third of hospitalisations are not due to Covid and says patients could be separated - possibly with the use of other sites like the Nightingale hospitals.

  11. FM 'really hopes' vaccination will be recommended for 12- to 15-year-olds

    teenager vaccinated

    Ben Phillip from BBC Scotland highlights the fact that more than a third of Covid cases in Scotland are detected in people under the age of 19.

    He says there is expected to be a surge in the 12-15 age group in the coming months now that the schools are back.

    He asks if the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) should extend the programme to vaccinate younger teenagers and whether the Scottish government should have vaccinations in schools.

    The first minister says it would not be right for her to sound as if she was telling the JCVI what to do as "they are the experts".

    She adds that she "really hopes" they will soon recommend the vaccination, based on the evidence, for all 12 to 15-year-olds.

    Ms Sturgeon says: "If I was making a plea to the JCVI, and it's not for me to tell them what decision to reach and they've got to do that on the basis of the evidence, but please make it quickly."

  12. Leitch: 'Events like Old Firm game are neither safe or unsafe'

    Celtic and Rangers players

    Prof Leitch answers a question from the BBC on large events being allowed to go ahead, particularly this weekend's Old Firm game at Ibrox and the upcoming TRNSMT festival.

    He says that events are "neither safe nor unsafe" but they can be made safer.

    Prof Leitch says that it is right that the events are going ahead, but organisers can take precautions.

    He says people should be vaccinated, they should test before they go, abide by the guidance and in fact going a bit further.

    He says people could wear their face covering further than the law requires them to.

  13. When will Scotland reach the 'tipping point'?

    The first minister is asked by STV when, given the steep rise in case numbers in the past week, the country will reach the "tipping point" when restrictions have to be brought in.

    Ms Sturgeon says ministers monitor the situation on an ongoing and daily basis.

    She adds vaccination has broken the link between the numbers getting Covid and the numbers becoming seriously unwell.

    Ms Sturgeon says the main focus is the "harm indicators", such as hospital admissions, length of stay and the numbers who end up in intensive care.

    However, she states that the "margin of tolerance" for the health service is lower than last year as it is trying to get back to normal.

    The first minister says she doesn't want to go back to restrictions and adds: "I hope we can get through this with all of us behaving sensibly and appropriately".

    Quote Message: Thankfully all of these things, on the basis of the case numbers we have right now, are at a much lower level than they would have been earlier in the pandemic, before vaccination. from Nicola Sturgeon First Minister
    Nicola SturgeonFirst Minister
  14. FM says all mitigations are still vital

    safe distance

    Ms Sturgeon reminds the public to follow all the current guidelines.

    She says getting vaccinated is the most important.

    Unvaccinated people, those who have had just one dose and even those who have questions are urged to turn up at any vaccination centre.

    Secondly, she asks people to test themselves regularly especially, before attending events or going where there are a lot of people.

    Thirdly she asks people to follow all of the public health guidance - face coverings on public transport, ventilating indoor areas and rules in hospitality settings.

    She ends by saying that it is important we think about limiting interactions with others, keeping a safe distance and clean surfaces.

  15. Case numbers 'a cause for concern'

    The first minister says that a third of new cases in Scotland are among those who are vaccinated.

    But she says case numbers are still "a cause for concern".

    In the past seven days, cases have doubled.

  16. Businesses urged to 'comply fully' with Covid measures

    office workers

    The first minister asks businesses to continue to ask workers and customers to "comply fully" with Covid mitigations, such as face coverings in indoor spaces.

    She adds businesses should also continue to work with staff to support home working, where at all possible.

    Ms Sturgeon says: "It is, of course, vital for businesses that we do slow the spread and avoid the need for further restrictions and I am grateful to businesses across the country who I know are doing so much to help us achieve this."

  17. FM: Circuit breaker lockdown 'not currently being considered'

    nicola sturgeon

    The first minister says she is "watching closely" to what extent the rising case numbers might translate into serious illness and hospitalisations.

    Ms Sturgeon adds that some of the speculation in the media is "not accurate" and confirms the government is "not currently considering a circuit breaker lockdown".

    She also urges everyone to play their part in limiting the spread of the virus.

    Quote Message: My job in times like these is not to be popular. It is to take any decisions, no matter how difficult, that are necessary to keep us safe and I will certainly not hesitate to do that. It is to keep people safe. from Nicola Sturgeon First Minister
    Nicola SturgeonFirst Minister
  18. 'Protect the NHS' message is still valid

    The first minister follows the daily statistics by saying that vaccinations figures are positive and says effectiveness of the vaccine means the high case numbers are not leading to large rises in hospital patients.

    She says that case numbers are rising across the UK just now, but in Scotland it is particularly sharp - perhaps due to schools returning earlier.

    But she says that even if a smaller proportion of people who get Covid go to hospital, a small percentage of a large number is still a lot of people.

    She points out that at the Protect the NHS message of the start of the pandemic is still valid.

    And she says we cannot ignore the current surge in cases and she will take any decisions, no matter how difficult, to keep Scotland safe.

  19. More than four million first doses have been administered

    As of 08:30 this morning, 4,095,463 people in Scotland had received their first dose of the vaccine.

    In addition, 3,629,482 have received their second dose.