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Live Reporting

All times stated are UK

  1. Covid in Scotland: The headlines

    • The first minister highlights the Scottish government's guidance for the festive period which was published this morning
    • Nicola Sturgeon says the R number - the rate at which the virus is passed on - is below one in Scotland
    • However, she says the government's festive advice - even if fully implemented - will not eradicate the risk
    • The safest way to spend Christmas is "with our own household, in our own home, in our own local area", she says

    Here's our latest on the government's advice for the Christmas holidays:

    View more on twitter
    • A further 51 coronavirus-related deaths are reported in the past 24 hours
  2. Scottish government to update festive travel guidance for the islands


    Liberal Democrat Orkney MSP Liam McArthur points out that extra travel time has been allowed for people travelling to Northern Ireland over Christmas to join bubbles, but not for the Scottish islands even though travel options can be more restricted and travel times can be a lot longer.

    He asks the first minister to urgently review the rules, otherwise there is a serious risk of bottlenecks on ferries and flights, and families will have less time to spend together.

    Nicola Sturgeon says the government will provide an update to the guidance regarding overnight ferries and look at exceptional circumstances. But she urges people to think carefully about travelling to the islands where generally the prevalence of the virus is very low.

  3. Covid in Scotland: Guidance, rules and advice

    1. Scottish government: Coronavirus (COVID-19): what you can and cannot do

    View guidance for the festive period. Full guidance and latest figures on main Coronavirus page.

    2. Postcode checker for COVID restrictions by protection level in areas of Scotland

    3. NHS Inform

    The latest from NHS Scotland and the Scottish government, including social distancing, face covering and stay at home advice.

    4.Test and Protect

    If you have Covid-19 symptoms go immediately to NHS Inform online or phone 0800 028 2816 to book a test

    5. The website

    It has been updated with the latest help and advice and how you can help others. The helpline number remains: 0800 111 4000

    6. The Clear Your Head website

    It's ok to not feel yourself right now, here are some tips to help get you through the pandemic.

  4. Local MSP raises 'hugely worrying outbreak' at food plant after 78 confirmed Covid cases

    The cases are being investigated in Portlethen
    Image caption: The cases are being investigated in Portlethen

    SNP MSP Maureen Watt turns to the "hugely worrying outbreak of Covid linked cases to the Kepak McIntosh Donald plant" in Portlethen.

    An incident management team has now been set up to monitor the situation involving the premises.

    The first minister says we've known food processing plants pose a "particular risk" due to the very low temperatures and some of the other working conditions.

    The response from public health workers has developed since the pandemic began and where there are cases they are identified quickly and testing of the wider workforce is instigated, Ms Sturgeon explains.

    The public health teams in Grampian are currently working to minimise wider community transmission, she adds.

  5. Why is it taking so long for families to be given access to loved ones in care homes?


    Scottish Lib Dem leader Willie Rennie questions the first minister over the restrictions on care home visits.

    Mr Rennie asks why it is taking so long for families to get in to see their loved ones?

    Ms Sturgeon says: “If we thought it was possible to go quicker on these things we would because no-one wants loved ones to be in this situation.”

    She says the government is working on "lateral flow testing" so faster testing can become a routine part of care home visits, and PCR testing will be available in the three-week period over Christmas, she says.

  6. Scottish government accused of 'irresponsibility' over holiday rules

    chrsitmas dinner

    Patrick Harvie says the government has created a “confusing” message by agreeing to relaxed rules over the holiday period, then appealing to the public not to use them.

    The Scottish Greens co-parliamentary leader says experts have said the measures are likely to lead to a third wave and a January national lockdown, and claims the lack of risk assessment is “deeply irresponsible”.

    First Minister Nicola Sturgeon says it is a difficult and complex situation, but the government recognises that some people will worry more about loved ones being alone at Christmas.

    She says they have outlined boundaries to help people meet up more safely if they feel they have to do it.

  7. 'Ethical and clinical' reasons behind care home discharge exceptions


    Labour leader Richard Leonard argues that the health secretary has said people can be moved into care homes following a positive Covid-19 test if it is in their clinical interests.

    How many cases of this has there been, he asks.

    The first minister explains she cannot say how many cases like this occur as they are clinical decisions.

    The policy is very clear that two negative tests are required before going to a care home if a patient had Covid and one if they were in hospital for a different reason, she adds.

    In any policy there are ethical and clinical reasons why there has to be exceptions, she says.

    In the past month, 223 people have lost their lives to Covid in care homes, hits back Mr Leonard and points out care home staff will have to wait until March for routine testing.

  8. Leonard presses FM on care homes investigation

    Richard Leonard

    Richard Leonard says the Crown Office is now leading Operation Koper, which is investigating care home deaths in Scotland.

    The Scottish Labour leader asks if the first minister believes she and her ministers will need to be interviewed as part of this investigation.

    He asks if all evidence and correspondence has been made, without reservation, to this investigation and does the first minister consider there was, at the very least, negligence in assuming that care homes could manage the risk of cross-infection?

    The first minister says who the Crown Office speaks to is a matter for them and it would be completely wrong for her to comment on it.

    Ms Sturgeon says the government acted on care homes in a way that was intended to protect the population and homes as much as possible.

    Quote Message: I have never, ever stood here and suggested that there were not things we got wrong in the face of a new virus where the challenges were significant. from Nicola Sturgeon First Minister
    Nicola SturgeonFirst Minister
  9. Harassment inquiry: Davidson accuses first minister of having 'something to hide'


    Ruth Davidson tells parliament: “The blunt fact is this, the only conceivable reason she is breaking her promise is because she has something to hide.”

    She says the Scottish government has “utterly” failed the women who came forward to report harassment.

    Nicola Sturgeon suggests Ms Davidson wants her to breach the ministerial code by divulging legal advice without following the proper process.

  10. Background: MSPs vote for Scottish government to hand over legal advice

    Alex Salmond
    Image caption: The Scottish government had to pay Mr Salmond £500,000 after admitting it had acted unlawfully while investigating complaints that had been made against him

    On Wednesday, MSPs voted for the Scottish government to hand over legal advice into the handling of harassment complaints committee at Holyrood.

    It is the second time in three weeks the government has been defeated over its failure to provide evidence.

    Ministers are being accused of treating the Scottish Parliament with contempt.

    In the Holyrood debate the Scottish Conservatives argued the public had a right to know what went wrong with the government's handling of harassment complaints against former first minister Alex Salmond.

    The deputy first minister John Swinney insisted the government was considering the matter carefully.

  11. Davidson challenges FM over Alex Samlond legal advice

    Ruth Davidson

    Ruth Daivdson challenges the first minister over legal advice about the government’s handling of harassment complaints against former first minister Alex Salmond.

    She quoted Nicola Sturgeon’s promise last year to co-operate fully with the Salmond inquiry.

    The leader of the Scottish Conservative group at Holyrood saiys key government officials are being blocked from giving evidence.

    The first minister replies that "nobody is being blocked".

    She insists she has "recused" herself from the decisions around the inquiry because her conduct is being examined, but process was being carried out according to the ministerial code, which states ministers must not divulge legal advice.

  12. FM on festive guidelines: 'We are trying to balance two conflicting priorities'

    The first minister acknowledges critics who may question the wisdom of relaxing restrictions for five days around Christmas.

    She explains: "We are trying to balance as best we can two conflicting priorities."

    "We also know the virus will not take a break over Christmas."

    Indoor gatherings are high risk and inter-generational meetings in particular can be risky, she adds.

    Ms Sturgeon urges everyone to consider carefully their Christmas arrangements.

    A different type of Christmas is a safer alternative, albeit tough, she says.

    The first minister calls on all of us to follow the rules:

    1. Scottish government: Coronavirus (COVID-19): what you can and cannot do

    View guidance for the festive period. Full guidance and latest figures on main Coronavirus page.

    2.Postcode checker for COVID restrictions by protection level in areas of Scotland

    3. NHS Inform

    The latest from NHS Scotland and the Scottish government, including social distancing, face covering and stay at home advice.

  13. Do not form a bubble if planning to visit a care home or hospital


    The first minister says if you want to visit someone in a care home or hospital over Christmas, you should not form a bubble.

    Ms Sturgeon says meeting other people indoors and then visiting someone in these settings increases the chances of transmitting the virus.

  14. Eight-person limit for Christmas bubbles stressed by FM

    Christmas "bubbles" of three households in Scotland should contain no more than eight people over the age of 11, the first minister says.

    The rule is part of the government's guidance for Christmas, which temporarily relaxes some Covid-19 restrictions for five days.

    Children under the age of 12 will not count towards the total number of people in the bubble.

    The easing of Covid rules will apply across the UK between 23-27 December.

    A UK-wide deal was agreed on Tuesday to permit people to meet up in "bubbles" over the festive period.

    Travel restrictions will be lifted across all four nations to allow people to visit close friends and relatives.

    But Nicola Sturgeon has that said the "default advice" and "safest position" was still that people should avoid contact.

  15. 'The advice even if fully implemented will not eradicate the risk'

    The first minister says people should consider alternative Christmas celebrations, for example meeting outside or using digital technology.

    At Christmas some people will feel the need to meet up with others and the government guidance sets out how to do that as safely as possible, says Ms Sturgeon.

    "The advice even if fully implemented will not eradicate the risk."

  16. FM details coronavirus pandemic Christmas guidance

    Christmas Santa Claus and a woman in a mask

    The first minister turns to the Scottish government's guidance for the festive period.

    Ms Sturgeon says the safest way to spend Christmas is "with our own household in our own home in our own local area".

    She reiterates people do not have to meet up with others and reminds us the virus spreads when people come together.

    The government advice covers how many people will be able to meet in Scotland, and the rules on where that can happen.

    Here's some BBC Scotland's articles to help you over the Christmas holidays: