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Scotland, United Kingdom

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Voucher scheme to provide free school meals

Highland Council is to provide e-vouchers to families that received free school meals.

For most of the more than 4,000 children involved it will give them access to food at their local supermarket.

Some restrictions do apply as the e-vouchers cannot be used to purchase age restricted products such as tobacco, alcohol, lottery tickets and fuel.

The vouchers are to be made available from 30 March.

'Go home now or get the jail'
Police confront a man on the street who says he has coronoavirus.

Frontline police officers to get protective equipment

Frontline police officers are to get more protective equipment in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak.

The equipment includes masks, gloves, boot covers and goggles.

About 630 of Scotland’s 17,259 police officers currently have the protective kits and the rest will be issued from next week.

Deputy Chief Constable Malcolm Graham said the force had been working round the clock in “challenging circumstances” to secure the extra equipment.

Some vulnerable people may receive less care

NHS Highland is warning that some vulnerable people who receive care at home may have to cope with less help during the coronavirus pandemic.

The health board currently supports about 6,000 people in the Highland Council area who are considered to be at the highest risk from Covid-19.

NHS Highland said its workforce was under "extraordinary" strain, forcing it to make some “difficult decisions” such as fewer and shorter visits to those in need.

It is working with Highland Council and voluntary organisations to make sure those who need help the most continue to receive support.

NHS Highland said: "Whilst we are attempting to avoid disruption, it is to be expected that people may have to cope with less care to allow need to be met."

Chief constable to speak about lockdown enforcement

Iain Llivingstone
BBC

Police Scotland chief constable Iain Livingstone will be speaking on Good Morning Scotland after 08:00.

The force has new powers to enforce the coronavirus lockdown rules, which include arresting people who repeatedly refuse to comply with the restrictions.

However, the chief constable has said arresting people will be an "absolute backstop".

Police call for action on childcare

Jamie McIvor

BBC Scotland education correspondent

police
Getty Images

The Scottish Police Federation wants urgent action to ensure the children of police officers can always get childcare at the special hubs that councils have been setting up.

It says many officers are concerned about some of the arrangements and that some have been unable to get places.

Different councils have their own lists of just how they define key workers.

Edinburgh has specified that police officers are among those getting top priority.

Meanwhile councils are gradually getting a better sense of what the demand for childcare is like in practice.

Council arranging key worker childcare

Highland Council says work is ongoing to make arrangements to provide childcare to key workers, such as health service employees.

Like the rest of Scotland, all schools in the Highland area are closed.

Schools have been in touch with parents about arrangements to provide lessons via online "classrooms" and school blogs.

The council said it was preparing for the need to teach and care for key workers.

A spokesman said: "We have been seeking key workers to register over the weekend and details will be publicised shortly.”