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Live Reporting

BBC Scotland News

All times stated are UK

  1. Covid in Scotland: The headlines

    View more on twitter
    • Between1 August and the end of November there were almost 3,000 Covid cases with student postcodes
    • Scottish Green Party co-leader Patrick Harvie calls for more support to be given to students
    • 22,000 asymptomatic lateral flow tests have been given to students since November
    • The first minister promises wider mass testing in the new year after six pilots in west and central Scotland
    • 39 deaths were registered with Covid in the last 24 hours
    • Earlier, we learned from the NRS that there had been 232 deaths linked to Covid in last week
    • The Scottish government's Cancer Recovery Plan will be published later today

    That's all from us here on the live page today, but you can watch the statement from Finance Secretary Kate Forbes here with us this afternoon. Please take care and stay safe.

  2. Patrick Harvie: Give students support to do the right thing

    Patrick Harvie

    Scottish Greens co-leader Patrick Harvie says he feels sympathy for Edinburgh residents and businesses, stuck in level three because big cities will be "magnets" for people in the lead-up to Christmas. Mr Harvie says there is a risk in not acknowledging that.

    He urges people to avoid flocking to city centres and also urges shoppers to support independent businesses who sell online, and not just the big retailers.

    Mr Harvie goes on to talk about students and says financial support is "missing" for many students struggling to afford accommodation.

    He says will be some will be charged rent for accommodation they are not using because they are self-isolating at home or returning late through the planned, staggered return in January.

    "If we want people to do the right thing, we need to give them the support they need", Mr Harvie says.

  3. Airport testing 'likely to be with us in the future'

    airport testing

    Prof Bauld say she has not yet had a chance to read the MHRA statement saying anyone with a significant history of allergic reactions should not get the Pfizer vaccine, although she is not surprised by it.

    It came after two NHS workers had allergic reactions on Tuesday.

    The public health expert says there is a risk of severe allergic reaction but people are encouraged to speak to their doctor about this.

    She points out the impact of international travel on igniting the pandemic again has been quite sobering and she says airport testing will be with us in the future.

  4. It is imperative that testing is available to returning students, says expert


    Prof Bauld says the arrival of thousands of students back into halls without testing being in place directly contributed to a rise in cases.

    The public health expert says other parts of the UK had testing and avoided that, so that is "really regrettable".

    There is a much better position now in terms of testing students in Scotland, she adds, saying when there is a staged return in January it is imperative that testing is available to returning students.

  5. Concerns about Edinburgh remaining in level 3 'are understandable'

    Prof Linda Bauld

    Professor Linda Bauld, a public health expert from Edinburgh University, says there is a basket of five key indicators used to decide which level of restrictions each area in Scotland faces.

    If you just look at the case numbers Edinburgh, it is well below the tier three threshold - so things are still moving in the right direction.

    She goes on to point out it's harder to project forward in terms of hospital and ICU capacity and they could both be concerning.

    However, in terms of the simpler indicators, Prof Bauld says: "Edinburgh as a city is well below where it should be now for level three, so I completely understand these concerns."

    She points out Nottingham Christmas market had to close after people rushed into it and crowding inside retail venues is a real concern and risk.

  6. Vaccine in short supply - many priority cases will not be called until January

    woman getting vaccine jab

    Part two of the BBC question quizzes Prof Leitch on care homes - should they expect to get the Pfizer vaccine before Christmas?

    He says it depends almost entirely on two things - vaccine supply and logistics of the vaccine.

    He says some of those in the priority groups will be able to travel to get the vaccine and others can't.

    He says the reality is this vaccine is in short supply but 10,000 more doses will arrive next week.

    People should be patient and wait to be contacted and they will get to people as fast as they can. But for the majority, it will be in January.

  7. Sturgeon: 'I'm not punishing Edinburgh'


    Lisa Summers from the BBC asks if the Scottish government followed the science in keeping Edinburgh in level three, and questions whether the people of Edinburgh are being punished to stop people from coming to the capital city.

    Ms Sturgeon says she understands how frustrated Edinburgh residents are. She says the measures are essential to keep the virus under control and it is not about "punishing" any areas. She says it is not as simple as just looking at the data and "churning out answers".

    Quote Message: Data doesn't lead you automatically to the answers. You have to apply judgement and contextual factors. After Greater Glasgow and Clyde right now the area with the highest number of cases for the past few days is Lothian, and cases are rising in Edinburgh. We have to be careful and cautious. If we take an area down that means places open up and the virus is more likely to spread. There is not a part of me that wants to keep an area in a higher level than necessary for longer than necessary. from Nicola Sturgeon First Minister
    Nicola SturgeonFirst Minister
  8. 'Stay as local as possible this Christmas'

    Glasgow Airport

    Prof Leitch sums up what we have learned from the two genomics studies.

    • The first lockdown was successful in all-but eliminating the virus in Scotland
    • Once we started to travel again, we brought fresh new strains into Scotland
    • The virus is more likely to spread in areas of high-density population

    He said this would influence the handling of the virus going forward regarding quarantine times, airport testing etc.

    And he says this is a cautionary tale for people considering travelling this Christmas. He advises people to stay as local as possible and avoid travelling between high and low-prevalence areas in December.

  9. Prof Jason Leitch: First lockdown 'almost eliminated Covid'

    Jason Leitch

    The national clinical director highlights two genomic studies submitted to Sage.

    He says that Wales and Scotland until recently had a very similar Covid history.

    About 300 strains were introduced in Scotland at the start of the pandemic and after the first lockdown the majority of these strains were eliminated.

    In the second wave, a whole new selection of strains were introduced - many of which can be traced to other parts of the UK and other countries.

    Quote Message: That first lockdown did get Scotland incredibly close to eliminating the virus in our communities but as we opened up - and inevitably people started to travel across the UK and internationally on holidays - new strains were imported again into Scotland. This will always be the case unless we restrict travel as New Zealand and Australia have done. from Prof Jason Leitch National Clinical Director
    Prof Jason LeitchNational Clinical Director
  10. FM urges people to follow the rules, guidance and advice


    The first minister reminds everyone they should follow the rules and, of course, FACTS.

    She says people should not visit other people's homes and says children over the age of 11 can now download the Protect Scotland App.

    Here's a reminder of the rules and guidance:

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

    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

  11. FM thanks Jewish community ahead of Hanukkah

    nicola sturgeon

    Tomorrow sees the start of Hanukkah celebrations and the first minister says people can't come together in each others' homes.

    She thanks everyone in Scotland's Jewish communities for celebrating Hanukkah this year in a way that will protect themselves, the wider community and the NHS.

  12. Travel is emphasised in reigniting outbreaks of the virus

    travel sign

    Ms Sturgeon says the final reports are those submitted to Sage (Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies) and she says they have used genomic sequencing to look at how many different strains of Covid have been in circulation and where they might have come from.

    The first minister says they provide really important lessons - and in particular in Scotland the role of travel is emphasised in reigniting outbreaks of the virus in the second wave.

    She says that is why the government is currently recommending against non-essential travel outside Scotland.

    It's also why there are travel restrictions to and from level three and four areas.

  13. Community testing has identified 426 positive test samples

    test centre

    There is also detail in the PHS publication about the mass community testing piloted in six locations in the west and central Scotland.

    The first minister says 13,000 tests were carried out up to 7 December, with most being PCR tests.

    In total, community testing has so far identified 426 positive test samples, a positivity rate of around 3%.

    Ms Sturgeon says community testing can play a role in combating Covid and there will be much wider mass testing in the new year.

  14. 22,000 asymptomatic lateral tests of students carried out

    Glasgow Uni students

    The first minister says, because students are being asked to get tested twice, the PHS figure of 22,000 asymptomatic lateral flow tests is not a total of students.

    Nevertheless, that is a promising figure and a strong uptake, says Ms Sturgeon.

    She reminds us any positive lateral flow tests then require a PCR test.

  15. Details of asymptomatic testing of students published

    View more on twitter

    Ms Sturgeon moves on to talk about the weekly Public Health Scotland update, which you can look at in the tweet above.

    It provides details of the asymptomatic testing of students.

  16. Report on student cases and advice on returning after Christmas

    murano halls

    Ms Sturgeon turns to a report on Covid outbreaks among students, which shows that between 1 August and the end of November there were almost 3,000 Covid cases with student postcodes.

    These are postcodes linked to student accommodation like halls of residence.

    The first minister explains almost two thirds of the cases occurred in a three-week period in late September and early October.

    Overall, more than three quarters of the cases were in Edinburgh and Glasgow. About a quarter were in the Pollock Halls in Edinburgh and the Murano Halls in Glasgow.

    The research published today sets out lessons for the next semester, like testing and staggered returns.

  17. Launch of Cancer Recovery Plan highlighted

    cancer treatment

    Ms Sturgeon says the health secretary will launch the Scottish government's Cancer Recovery Plan later today.

    The first minister adds it will set out improvements to cancer treatment and care.

  18. FM raises vaccine warning to those with 'significant history of allergic reactions'


    Ms Sturgeon says there may well be questions on the advice from MHRA (Medicines & Healthcare Products

    Regulatory Agency) that anyone with a significant history of allergic reactions should not get this vaccine.

    It came after two NHS workers had allergic reactions on Tuesday.

    The first minister says Professor Jason Leitch will respond to any clinical questions about this.

  19. 'The vaccination programme is an enormous undertaking'

    nicola sturgeon

    The first minister expresses her heartfelt thanks to "everyone who got our Covid vaccination programme off to such a strong start yesterday".

    Ms Sturgeon says: "The vaccination programme is a major, enormous undertaking."

    She adds it was "hugely encouraging" and "inspiring" to see it get under way on Tuesday.

    The first minister says she will give provisional figures tomorrow on the number of people who have received the vaccine.