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Scotland, United Kingdom

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Sitel management only made staff aware of outbreak 'when media got wind of it'

Drivetime with John Beattie

BBC Radio Scotland

The Sitel buiding
PA Media

An employee at the Sitel call centre, from where a total of 20 coronavirus cases have now been linked, claims management only made staff aware of the outbreak on Saturday afternoon, despite knowing about it last Friday morning.

"They only sent us home because the media got wind of it; they were going to keep us in longer," she told BBC Radio Scotland, on condition of anonymity.

She also says staff were told they would not get sick pay if they were forced to self-isolate for 14 days.

"They are telling people we are working from home, but we haven’t been given working from home kits, so no-one is working from home."

The employee also says there was no set seating plan, and Test and Trace NHS England staff were car-sharing with workers from Virgin Media, who were on the floor upstairs, even though rules prevented them from mixing at work.

Sitel have refuted the claims. They said employees were sent home on full pay as soon as they were made aware of the outbreak, and the site will not reopen until they are cleared by environmental health.

Pubs and shops named following Lanarkshire outbreak

The Sitel building
PA Media

Five businesses have been identified as being linked to the Covid-19 outbreak at a call centre in Lanarkshire.

They include Owen's bar in Coatbridge; The Railway Tavern and Merlin's Bar in Motherwell, Costa Coffee in Carfin and END Clothing in Glasgow.

Environmental health officials visited the businesses after 15 workers at the Sitel call centre tested positive for the virus.

All had taken satisfactory precautions and transmission risks were "low".

Read more here.

Owen's Bar
google

'Real prospect' that guidelines were not followed at Sitel - FM

The Sitel building at the centre of an outbreak
PA Media

Katie Hunter from BBC Scotland asks whether something went wrong in the procedures at the Sitel call centre, to which 20 coronavirus cases have now been linked, given that information about a positive case emerged on Saturday morning but some staff were still working in the building on Saturday afternoon.

Nicola Sturgeon says she has "slightly greater confidence" today that the 'Test and Protect' process seems to be working, but she needs to see what unfolds over the next few days.

When we have outbreaks like this, it is not certain, but it raises the real prospect that guidelines have not been rigorously followed. That is why we take some much time and effort to underline the importance of sticking to the guidelines.

Nicola Sturgeon

Ms Sturgeon says the government will look back to see if there were opportunities to pick up the outbreak earlier or if there were any specific breaches of guidelines.

Police assaulted 265 times during first month of lockdown

Police on patrol
Getty Images

Police Scotland officers or staff were assaulted 265 times during the first month of lockdown.

Figures obtained by the Scottish Conservatives under freedom of information also revealed almost 89 of these crimes were Covid-19 related.

The figures were published under freedom of information and covered the period between 24 March and 30 April.

There can be no reason or excuse for attacking these officers who deserve nothing but our gratitude. The fact that 90 of these offences were Covid-related is particularly abhorrent. Those who have perpetrated these assaults must feel the force of the law.

Liam KerrScottish Conservatives justice spokesman

QC praises police use of emergency powers

Reevel Alderson

BBC Scotland Home Affairs correspondent

Police on patrol
Getty Images

The QC who has been monitoring the way Police Scotland has operated during the coronavirus pandemic has said the force has been doing a good job.

Speaking to a virtual meeting of the Scottish Police Authority (SPA), John Scott said the force had resisted demands for greater enforcement of emergency regulations.

A report presented to the SPA board said that from 27 March until 17 June there were more than 53,000 interventions using emergency powers - an average of 640 a day.

Data showed 92.8% of these were the dispersal of people, with only 6.6% of incidents involving enforcement action.

It also revealed the issue of fixed penalty notices or arrests was higher in the early stage of lockdown.

Prof Susan McVie of Edinburgh University, who has carried out research for the review, told the SPA board: "I think this demonstrates a high level of discretion in terms of the police having been given quite draconian powers."

Freeman hopes future reports will provide more QEUH answers

Milly Main and her mother
Kimberley Darroch
Milly Main with her mother, Kimberley Darroch

Sky News' James Matthews says that Kimberley Darroch, the mother of 10-year-old Milly Main, is disappointed in the Scottish government's review of the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital.

She has said she was never spoken to as part of it, and had hoped it would help her understand why their daughter died - she feels she is still in the dark.

He also suggests that the health secretary's opponents are criticising her "initial reluctance" to having an inquiry.

Jeane Freeman says she met "a large number of the families who have been affected" and that she takes it very seriously.

She says the review is part of three significant pieces of work to give answers to the families and to learn the lessons for building such projects.

Ms Freeman says there is also "ongoing liaison with those families" and realises the report will not necessarily provide individual answers to their own situations but says the following inquiry will provide them.

She points out that it was up to those carrying out the first review who they interviewed.

Health secretary apologises to QEUH patients and families

Health Secretary Jeane Freeman highlights the publication of the review into the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital, which was commissioned after fears deaths were linked to infections.

The report found there were a "series of problems" with the design and build of the campus - but no clear evidence to link those failures to any "avoidable deaths".

Ms Freeman says the campus now offers a high quality healthcare, but notes the report concluded the risk “could have been lower” for patients with compromised immune systems.

“On behalf of the Scottish government, I want to express how sorry I am that patients and families have had to endure this situation,” the health secretary says.

She goes on to thank whistle-blowers for raising concerns, adding this report will inform the public inquiry into the construction of the QEUH and the new Sick Kids’ hospital in Edinburgh.

The chief nursing officer Fiona McQueen will also report on infection control at the hospital in the future, Ms Freeman adds.

QEUH
PA

Number of cases in each area of Scotland

This is the number of confirmed cases in each Scottish health board area, plus the number of people in hospital as of midnight, with the number in brackets those who are in intensive care.

  • Ayrshire and Arran 1088, 5 in hospital (* in intensive care)
  • Borders 327, * (*)
  • Dumfries and Galloway 261,* (*)
  • Fife 885, 57 (*)
  • Forth Valley 952, 5 (*)
  • Grampian 1294, 56 (*)
  • Greater Glasgow and Clyde 4010, 255 (*)
  • Highland 341, 7 (*)
  • Lanarkshire 2035, 49 (*)
  • Lothian 2807, 134 (5)
  • Orkney 8 * *
  • Shetland 54 * *
  • Tayside 1,687, 6 (*)
  • Eileanan Siar (Western Isles) 6 * *

* = less than 5

Police fines for flouting lockdown measures plummet

Paul O'Hare

BBC Scotland News

Crowd on a beach
Getty Images

Police Scotland issued 35 fines last week to people who flouted the Covid-19 restrictions.

The figures, the second to be published since Scotland moved into phase one of lockdown easing, also revealed officers only made nine arrests.

The statistics show a 68% drop in the number of fixed penalty notices handed out, compared to 110 the previous week. This brings the total since the measures were introduced to 3,248.

Fines start at £30, doubling to £60 if they are not paid within 28 days. Repeat offenders can face penalties of up to £960.

The update, for week ending 10 June, confirms a dozen individuals were dispersed using "reasonable force" compared to 36 the previous week.

A total of 609 were "dispersed when instructed" while the number "dispersed when informed" was 2,449.

Police absence rate 'remarkably' lowest it has ever been

Holyrood Live

BBC Parliaments

Officer in PPE
Perth Picture Agency

The chief constable says while officers have been able to provide advice and enforce the law, Police Scotland has faced challenges in terms of staffing and PPE.

Mr Livingstone tells MSPs over 14,000 officers and staff now have access to PPE, with a dedicated team set up for sourcing and training on how to use it.

The absence rate is currently at 3.5%, Iain Livingstone confirms, which is "remarkably" the lowest it has ever been.

He says officers have been "very visible" in communities in recent months and the public has stepped forward to work with police services.

The chief constable also says the police officers remain concerned about those facing domestic or child abuse, adding: "Sadly for some people that stay at home guidance does expose them to greater risk of abuse, harm or neglect. We are aware unfortunately that virtual spaces are not also safe places for everyone.

"It remains a significant concern and priority going forward."

Number of cases in each area of Scotland

This is the total number of confirmed cases in each Scottish health board area, plus the number of people in hospital as of midnight, with the number in brackets those who are in intensive care.

  • Ayrshire and Arran 1,079, 10in hospital (* in intensive care)
  • Borders 326,* (*)
  • Dumfries and Galloway 261, * (*)
  • Fife 879, 54 (*)
  • Forth Valley 946, 10 (*)
  • Grampian 1286, 60 (*)
  • Greater Glasgow and Clyde 3981, 295 (0)
  • Highland 339, 6 (*)
  • Lanarkshire 2008, 58 (*)
  • Lothian 2772, 146 (7)
  • Orkney 8* *
  • Shetland 54* *
  • Tayside 1676, 7 (*)
  • Eileanan Siar (Western Isles) 6* *

* = less than 5

Number of cases in each area of Scotland

This is the total number of confirmed cases in each Scottish health board area, plus the number of people in hospital as of midnight, with the number in brackets those who are in intensive care.

  • Ayrshire and Arran 1,077, 8 in hospital (* in intensive care)
  • Borders 326, * (*)
  • Dumfries and Galloway 261, *(*)
  • Fife 879, 54 (*)
  • Forth Valley 946,12 (*)
  • Grampian 1289, 62 (*)
  • Greater Glasgow and Clyde 3971, 294 (0)
  • Highland 339, 6 (*)
  • Lanarkshire 2007, 59 (*)
  • Lothian 2769, 143 (5)
  • Orkney 8 * *
  • Shetland 54 * *
  • Tayside 1676, 8 (*)
  • Eileanan Siar (Western Isles) 6 * *

* = less than 5

Fall in police lockdown fines but dispersal orders soar

Paul O'Hare

BBC Scotland News

Crowd at Luss
Getty Images

The number of fines issued by Police Scotland to people who flouted the Covid-19 restrictions plummeted by 56% last week.

The figures, the first to be published since Scotland moved into phase one of lockdown easing, also saw the weekly number of arrests fall from 30 to 11.

The statistics reveal 110 fixed penalty notices were handed out compared to 252 the previous week. This brings the total since the measures were introduced to 3,213.

Fines start at £30, doubling to £60 if they are not paid within 28 days. Repeat offenders can face penalties of up to £960.

But the update, for week ending 3 June, reveals the number of individuals dispersed using "reasonable force" doubled from 18 to 36.

Major increases were also recorded in the number "dispersed when instructed", which soared from 654 to 2,107, while the number "dispersed when informed" increased by 13% to 4,357.

Police powers: Lockdown measures protect 'right to life'

Good Morning Scotland

BBC Radio Scotland

sign
Getty Images

A senior lawyer, who has been asked by Police Scotland to monitor the impact of lockdown regulations, says it is important the powers are kept under constant review.

John Scott QC said the measures have been judged necessary because they protect the right to life, but should only be in place as long as necessary and used proportionately.

But he told Radio Scotland that it would be right for further restrictions to be introduced if there is a resurgence of Covid-19 infections.

The QC added that he thought "common sense" had been applied in the majority of cases, both by Police Scotland officers and members of the public.

Because the path of the disease is not necessarily only in one direction - it's not always just going to go downwards - then the restrictions may be reintroduced or additional restrictions might be introduced or introduced on a regional or geographic basis

John ScottQC

Volunteer constables donate over 25,000 hours since lockdown

Special Constables and police officers
Getty Images

Special Constables (SPCs) donated over 25,000 hours supporting Police Scotland in the two months after lockdown began.

The special constabulary is a part-time volunteer body consisting of officers with powers identical to those of police officers.

Following an appeal by Police Scotland in March, the number of hours SPCs were deployed for more than doubled, to 25,656, compared to the same period last year.

Assistant Chief Constable John Hawkins said: “While SPCs have always been considered a vital and valued feature of policing in Scotland, it is more important than ever that their role is recognised and I would like to sincerely thank them all once again for their efforts."

Number of cases in each area of Scotland

This is the total number of confirmed cases in each Scottish health board area, plus the number of people in hospital as of midnight, with the number in brackets those who are in intensive care.

  • Ayrshire and Arran 1,060, 11 in hospital (* in intensive care)
  • Borders 325, * (*)
  • Dumfries and Galloway 260, * (*)
  • Fife 835, 62 (*)
  • Forth Valley 928, 10 (*)
  • Grampian 1274, 66 (*)
  • Greater Glasgow and Clyde 3946, 338 (7)
  • Highland 337, 9 (*)
  • Lanarkshire 1987, 71 (*)
  • Lothian 2709, 156 (9)
  • Orkney 8 * *
  • Shetland 54 * *
  • Tayside 1671, 9 (*)
  • Eileanan Siar (Western Isles) 6 * *

* = less than 5

98-year-old Rebecca Parker is playing the piano for 100 days to raise money for the NHS
98-year-old Rebecca Parker is playing the piano for 100 days to raise money for the NHS

Number of cases in each area of Scotland

This is the total number of confirmed cases in each Scottish health board area, plus the number of people in hospital as of midnight, with the number in brackets those who are in intensive care.

  • Ayrshire and Arran 1019, 25 in hospital (* in intensive care)
  • Borders 322, 11 (*)
  • Dumfries and Galloway 258, * (*)
  • Fife 826, 69 (*)
  • Forth Valley 917, 14 (*)
  • Grampian 1224, 72 (*)
  • Greater Glasgow and Clyde 3876, 379 (12)
  • Highland 335, 10 (*)
  • Lanarkshire 1934, 83 (*)
  • Lothian 2665, 165 (8)
  • Orkney 7 * *
  • Shetland 54 * *
  • Tayside 1658, 13 (*)
  • Eileanan Siar (Western Isles) 6 * *

* = less than 5

The rules haven't changed yet, police stress

Iain Livingstone
BBC

The chief constable of Police Scotland, Iain Livingstone, says he wants to thank the "overwhelming majority" of the public for their cooperation over lockdown.

He says that as we progress through the phases of leaving lockdown, it is inevitable that police will move from "explaining, encouraging and where necessary enforcing restrictions" to a greater emphasis on guidance and advice.

Mr Livingstone says the approach of the police has been broadly to rely on the public doing the right thing.

But, he says, "the rules in Scotland have not changed" yet and "as a last resort" officers will enforce the law while they are out proactively policing until the change.

"Please stick with it," he urged.