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Coronavirus: Plea to avoid narrow canal towpaths

Morag Kinniburgh

BBC Scotland

Union Canal

An Edinburgh councillor is calling on people to avoid congested canal towpaths during the Covid 19 lockdown.

Gavin Corbett is urging cyclists and runners in particular to use alternative routes, saying some sections are too narrow for the number of people using them.

Scottish Canals acknowledged there were places where it was impossible to keep two metres apart but said it would be impossible to enforce any towpath closure given that there were so many access points.

It is encouraging the public to be mindful of people coming towards them and to allow as much space as possible.

Local Green councillor and city canal champion Mr Corbett said: “In normal times I’m always enthusing about why should people should visit it. But these are not normal times and in some parts the canal towpath is way too narrow for the number of people using it just now.”

Severe disruption: M8 City Of Edinburgh westbound

BBC News Travel

M8 City Of Edinburgh westbound severe disruption, from J2 for M9 to J3 for A899 Livingston Road.

M8 City Of Edinburgh - One lane closed on M8 westbound from J2 M9 to J3, A899 (Livingston), because of a break down. Traffic is coping well.

To report traffic and travel incidents dial 0330 123 0184 at any time

Coronavirus: Bonfires banned at allotments

Angie Brown

Edinburgh and East reporter

Bonfires have been banned at allotments across Edinburgh during the coronavirus lockdown in a bid to keep the air clear for people who are self-isolating.

All 1,724 plot holders at 30 sites in the capital have been told to compost rather than burn vegetation during this period.

Stuart McKenzie, president of the Federation of Edinburgh and District Allotments and Gardens Association told BBC Scotland: “I have put this in place because during the current lockdown people are isolating in their homes. They rely on fresh air from windows as they are unable to leave.

“We must help them by not creating any pollution that could make their condition worse.

“Build a compost heap instead and put all those nutrients back into the soil.”


How are Scotland's hospitals preparing for Covid-19 peak?

A NHS worker wears protective equipment

Red wards are for Covid-19 patients, green for non-Covid.

In a place where free beds are usually rare commodities, wards have been emptied.

Operating theatres and recovery rooms are being turned into intensive care facilities in readiness for a rapid rise in cases.

Edinburgh's Western General Hospital has a long history in managing infectious diseases, and was one of the first in Scotland to treat Covid-19 patients.

BBC Scotland's Health Correspondent Lisa Summers took a tour of the wards, and also visited Dundee's biggest hospital, Ninewells, to see how they are preparing for the peak of the coronavirus epidemic.

Postman delivering 50% more parcels during lockdown

Angie Brown

Edinburgh and East reporter

Darragh Cox

An Edinburgh postman has told how he is delivering up to 50% more parcels during the lockdown but because everyone is at home his shift is taking about the same time to complete.

Darragh Cox, a Royal Mail postal worker, said he had also finally been able to meet his customers (from a distance) as usually they were at work and not at home when he delivered their mail.

The 40-year-old said: “Everyone has been so appreciative and happy to see me.

“One gave me a Lion Bar today and another a homemade mask made of fabric and I’ve had a lot of thumbs up from windows.”

Severe disruption: A1 City Of Edinburgh both ways

BBC News Travel

A1 City Of Edinburgh both ways severe disruption, from Marionville Road to A1140 Portobello Road.

A1 City Of Edinburgh - A1 London Road in Meadowbank closed in both directions from the Marionville Road junction to the A1140 Portobello Road junction, because of a fire at a building.

To report traffic and travel incidents dial 0330 123 0184 at any time

Severe disruption: A902 City Of Edinburgh both ways

BBC News Travel

A902 City Of Edinburgh both ways severe disruption, between South Fort Street and A901 North Junction Street.

A902 City Of Edinburgh - A902 Ferry Road in Leith closed and it's heavy in both directions between the South Fort Street junction and the A901 North Junction Street, because of a fire at a building.

To report traffic and travel incidents dial 0330 123 0184 at any time

Celebrating landmark birthdays in lockdown

Angie Brown

BBC Scotland news reporter

Hardy family
Jen Hardy

The gatherings and celebrations planned for milestone birthdays have been cancelled across the country as people follow the guidance to stop the spread of coronavirus.

But some have been finding other ways to make their landmark days special despite the lockdown.

When Jen Hardy was diagnosed with incurable breast cancer three years ago, she didn't know if she would see her daughter Carys turn 21 or celebrate her own 25th wedding anniversary.

Now those landmark dates have come around - only for her plans to be scuppered by coronavirus.

But the 52-year-old, from Edinburgh, says she is happy she is still around to celebrate.

Read more here.

Amazon worker tests positive for Covid-19

An Amazon worker at it’s Fife warehouse site has tested positive for Covid-19.

The distribution company said it was supporting the Dunfermline worker who was now in quarantine.

An Amazon spokeswoman said: “We have implemented proactive measures at our facilities to protect employees including increased cleaning at all facilities, maintaining social distance, and adding distance between drivers and customers when making deliveries."

Self-employed beautician tells of act of kindness

Angie Brown

Edinburgh and East reporter

A beauty therapist who has no income while her Edinburgh business is closed during the lockdown said she was close to tears when a client sent her a cheque in the post in a bid to help her out.

Carole Fortune, who runs Carole’s Beauty Therapy from her Oxgang’s home, said the act of kindness from the retired woman had left her “touched” and “surprised”.

Ms Fortune, 55, who has two children, said: “We don’t get our self-employed government grant until June so when I saw the £100 cheque in the envelope I couldn’t believe it.

“For a client to think about me in this way and to send me a gift like this is incredibly kind. I’m so touched.

“It is very tough times at the moment.”

Scottish producer revives national loaf

Morag Kinniburgh

BBC Scotland


A surge in demand for flour has prompted one Scottish producer to revive the National Loaf.

Mungoswells Mill in East Lothian has switched to milling just one brown flour instead of its customary white and wholemeal varieties which it argues is faster to make and more nutritious.

The move is reminiscent of the Second World War when white flour was banned and the healthier National Loaf was created as part of the war time food plan.

Andrew Whitely of campaign group Scotland the Bread said “national flour for a national emergency” would “address a big backlog of orders” and serve as “a wake up call alerting us to the fragility of our food system”.

Harp festival will go ahead virtually

Pauline McLean

BBC Scotland Arts Correspondent

Edinburgh International Harp Festival
Edinburgh International Harp Festival

As we await news from Edinburgh International Festival and Fringe, along with the Edinburgh Military Tattoo, Edinburgh International Book Festival, Edinburgh Jazz and Blues Festival and Edinburgh Art Festival (a pan festival announcement is expected this week) news of one festival which will go ahead, virtually.

The Edinburgh International Harp Festival, which was due to begin on Friday, has now launched a virtual edition which will replace their planned event. It will include free tutorials and performances from harpists from around the world.

It will also include two concerts which will allow harpists to join in from their places of isolation. Details can be found on the event's website.

'Calm, controlled and ready'

Western General Hospital
PA Media

A consultant at an Edinburgh hospital says it is "calm, controlled and ready" to deal with an increase in patients who have contracted coronavirus.

Prof Simon Maxwell said there were not the "apocalyptic" scenes that people might be imagining.

He said the Western General Hospital site was "quieter than it's ever been in the 23 years I have worked here".

"Most outpatient clinics are suspended," he said. "Ward visiting is strictly limited."

"There are many empty beds now being held in readiness for what is to come."

Coronavirus rainbows bring colour to Portobello

Hope Webb

News reporter

This display has appeared at a home on Bath Street in Edinburgh’s Portobello.

The colourful art thanks health care workers working on the front line during the COVID-19 pandemic, specifically highlighting an “Auntie Sarah”.

It’s one of many tributes being created across the country to recognise the dedication of NHS workers combating coronavirus.


Coronavirus: Do not touch other people’s animals

People out for their daily exercise are being told not to touch animals as Coronavirus can live on their coats.

It comes as dog walkers are being asked to keep their pets on leads so everyone can observe social distancing.

A sign in the Pentland Hills on the edge of Edinburgh warns passersby not to touch horses in fields.

The plea is to help stop the spread of Covid-19.

Dign in Edinburgh
Donald Sandeman

Coronavirus: Gorgie Farm appeals for vets

Angie Brown

Edinburgh and East reporter

An Edinburgh city farm is looking for volunteers with vet and animal caring experience to help during the Coronavirus outbreak.

Although Love Gorgie Farm is currently operating as a foodbank and is closed to visitors their team is still working behind closed doors to take care of the animals

The owner is now looking to build a database of volunteers who would be able to step in if any members of the team fell sick or needed to self-isolate.

The farm opened its doors to the public last month after the previous farm on the site went into liquidation in November.

Love Gorgie Farm
Kinga Bellan

Severe disruption: M90 Fife northbound

BBC News Travel

M90 Fife northbound severe disruption, from J4 for A909 to J5 for B9097 Gairneybridge.

M90 Fife - M90 partially blocked and it's slow northbound from J4, A909 (Kelty) to J5, B9097 (Gairneybridge), because of an obstruction.

To report traffic and travel incidents dial 0330 123 0184 at any time

Severe disruption: M90 Fife both ways

BBC News Travel

M90 Fife both ways severe disruption, from J1B for B980 Ferry Toll Road to J1C for A985 Admiralty Road.

M90 Fife - Temporary closure and stationary on M90 in both directions from J1b, B980 (Ferrytoll) to J1c, A985 (Pitreavie), because of a police investigation.

To report traffic and travel incidents dial 0330 123 0184 at any time

Severe accident: A701 Scottish Borders both ways

BBC News Travel

A701 Scottish Borders both ways severe accident, between B7059 and A703.

A701 Scottish Borders - A701 closed in both directions between the B7059 junction in Romanno Bridge and the A703 junction in Leadburn, because of an accident involving a car has collided into a tree.

To report traffic and travel incidents dial 0330 123 0184 at any time

The eerie emptiness of Scotland's capital

A series of photographs captures the strange lack of people on the streets of Edinburgh

Empty street in Edinburgh
BBC Sport

The photographger encounters one woman, Sheena - masked up in a supermarket and wearing a home-made visor - out shopping for essential supplies for her housebound mother.

woman in mask

"I feel like I’m in Sarajevo, running from invisible snipers,”



Coronavirus: The Balmoral Hotel is boarded up

Angie Brown

Edinburgh and East reporter

One of Edinburgh’s most iconic hotels has been boarded up in a bid to stop vandals and thieves while it lies empty during the Coronavirus lockdown.

The landmark, with the famous number 1 Princes Street address, which opened 118 years ago in 1902, has wooden boards covering every ground floor window and even the glass panels in the front door of the grand entrance.

The five star hotel, which is owned by Sir Rocco Forte, has joined other businesses taking the safety measures including The Merlin Pub In Morningside.

The Balmoral began as the North British Station Hotel.

The Balmoral Hotel
The Balmoral Hotel

John Menzies axes 17,500 jobs after travel slump

John Menzies staff member at airport
John Menzies
John Menzies provides services at 200 airports around the world

Aviation services firm John Menzies has announced it has cut more than 17,500 jobs worldwide as it struggles to deal with the major slump in air travel as a result of the coronavirus outbreak.The job losses represent more than half the Edinburgh-based group's total workforce.

Menzies, which provides fuelling, ground handling and cargo handling services at 200 airports, said it had recently seen its international and domestic airline customers ground passenger flights "on an unprecedented scale".

The number of flights handled in the past two weeks has fallen by more than 60%, while volumes in the cargo sector have dropped by about 20%.

The company said it was attempting to secure some of the emergency funding for businesses announced this week by the chancellor of the exchequer and was engaged in "constructive discussions" with its lending banks.

Chief executive Giles Wilson said: "John Menzies plc has existed since 1833 and been listed since 1962 but never have we faced such difficult and unpredictable times."

‘Everybody is really helping out’

David Cowan

BBC Scotland

Paul McColgan
Paul McColgan

An anti-poverty charity which works in some of Scotland’s most deprived communities is hoping the response to the pandemic will be a catalyst for permanent change.

Community Renewal says many people have quickly lost what were already low-paid jobs, and they are concerned about the mental health of isolated residents in places such as Muirhouse in Edinburgh and Glasgow’s Govanhill.

But its director Paul McColgan says there are reasons to be optimistic: “There’s been an initial surge of enthusiasm with everybody really helping out, but we’d like to see how we can capture that for the long term.

"If you think about it this way: if a storm comes in and destroys a shanty town, what do you want to do after the storm has passed? Do you want to rebuild the shanty town or do we want to build a structure that’s a bit more solid for people?”

Severe accident: A720 Midlothian westbound

BBC News Travel

A720 Midlothian westbound severe accident, from A68 to A7.

A720 Midlothian - A720 Edinburgh City Bypass blocked westbound from Millerhill Junction to Sheriffhall Roundabout, because of an accident.

To report traffic and travel incidents dial 0330 123 0184 at any time

Coronavirus: Businesses boarded up against thieves

Angie Brown

Edinburgh and East reporter

The Merlin pub in Edinburgh

Some Edinburgh businesses have been taking precautions against thieves and vandals by boarding up their premises and asking the community to keep an eye on their shops while they lie empty during the coronavirus lockdown.

The Merlin pub in Morningside now “looks like it’s braced for a hurricane”, one passer-by said.

Owners of another city pub, Montpeliers, were seen removing all valuable alcohol from its premises in Bruntsfield.

Meanwhile, Greggs in Morningside Road has signs in its windows with a phone number people can call if they find the shop has been broken in to or damaged.

Greggs sign

Homeless people moved into hotel rooms and student flats

Work is under way in Glasgow and Edinburgh to move rough sleepers into emergency accommodation to protect them from coronavirus.

The councils have secured hotel rooms and repurposed student flats to allow homeless people showing symptoms of the virus to self-isolate.

It comes after additional funding was provided by the Scottish government.

The Simon Community has been involved in helping vulnerable people on the streets.

homeless person
Getty Images

‘Main strain on NHS is staff absence’

Dr Cat Nesbitt told BBC Radio Scotland’s Drivetime her surgery in East Kilbride, which serves 11,000 patients, only has three GPs at the moment.

Two of her colleagues are self-isolating as a relative might have the virus.

At present she said it can take three days to get an appointment for Covid-19 testing and a further two or three days to get the results.

We need to try and increase the resources so it can happen a lot, lot quicker. At the moment the main strain on the health service is staff absence.

Dr Cat NesbittEdinburgh GP

Creature comforts: Increase in sales of toys for pets

Angie Brown

Edinburgh and East reporter

The owner of Edinburgh’s oldest pet shop said he had seen an increase in toy sales since the Coronavirus pandemic.

Craig Davidson, owner of Dofos Pet Centre on Leith Walk, said he was surprised it had not just been pet food that has been flying out of the door.

He said: “I have seen an increase in online sales with the bulk being from England.

“I think owners are needing things to amuse their pets while everyone is locked inside.”

Coco the parrot

ScotRail passsenger numbers down 75%

Ene Maria
Edinburgh’s normally busy Waverley Station is almost empty

Scotland's main rail operator has seen a dramatic fall in passenger numbers because of the coronavirus outbreak.

ScotRail said there has been about a 75% reduction in passenger numbers, year-on-year.

Trains were busy at the start of the week despite advice to limit travel to essential journeys only.

However, most people are now staying away from rail services it appears.

Edinburgh’s normally busy Waverley Station has become almost empty, with staff out-numbering the passengers left trying to catch the few trains that are still running.