LiveCoronavirus in Scotland RECAP: Easter Monday sees hairdressers and garden centres reopen as lockdown restrictions lift
Live updates on Covid-19 in Scotland, the UK, and around the world.
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Coronavirus in Scotland LIVE: The latest Covid-19 updates on Monday, April 5
Last updated: Monday, 05 April, 2021, 14:08
- Hairdressers to reopen in Scotland as some lockdown restrictions lift
- Nicola Sturgeon ‘can’t wait’ to get first dose of Covid vaccine
- 248 new Covid cases and no deaths reported on Monday
248 new Covid-19 cases reported on Monday - and no further deaths
Scotland recorded 248 new coronavirus cases and no deaths of Covid-19 patients in the past 24 hours, according to the latest data.
The death toll under this measure – of people who first tested positive for the virus within the previous 28 days – remains at 7,614.
Figures published by the Scottish Government on Monday indicate the daily test positivity rate is 2.5%, down from 2.7% on Sunday.
A total of 2,565,280 people have received the first dose of a Covid-19 vaccination and 456,374 have received their second dose.
The Scottish Government is only publishing updates on the above data during the Easter break and the remaining daily statistics – such as hospital and intensive care figures – will be updated on Tuesday.
Family of Belly Mujinga call for police to disclose spitting suspect’s name
The family of a railway worker who died with Covid-19 after allegedly being spat at have called for police to disclose the suspect’s name.
Belly Mujinga, 47, died on April 5 last year with coronavirus after she was reportedly coughed on and spat at days earlier by a white customer at London’s Victoria station.
British Transport Police (BTP) interviewed a 57-year-old man over the incident but said there was not enough evidence that a crime had taken place.
A lawyer for Mrs Mujinga’s family, Lawrence Davies, said the force had refused to disclose the suspect’s name, preventing them from pursuing a private prosecution and further civil claims.
Speaking on the anniversary of the university graduate’s death on Monday, Mr Davies told the PA news agency: “We are pushing for two things, an inquest and the name of the man who (allegedly) assaulted her.
“But the BTP won’t give the name. They have stonewalled me since September, so the family has complained to the IOPC (Independent Office for Police Conduct).”
Twice-weekly Covid tests for all a ‘really strong idea’ – Sarwar
Twice-weekly coronavirus tests for every citizen are a “really strong idea” to help tackle the pandemic, Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar has said.
Mr Sarwar said that testing needs to be ramped up and supported by a tracing system to ensure the country never needs to go into lockdown again.
The UK Government has announced that everyone in England is to be offered free, twice-weekly coronavirus tests from Friday.
The lateral flow tests – which can provide results in around 30 minutes – will be available regardless of whether people have symptoms.
Speaking as he went for a haircut in the Pollokshields area of Glasgow, in the constituency where he is standing against First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, Mr Sarwar welcomed the idea of the tests.
He told the PA news agency: “Today businesses are starting to reopen, I’m going in to get my well-overdue haircut and if we want to keep businesses open, if we want to keep people in work, how we isolate the virus and stop the spread of the virus is going to be a really important part of that.
“So we’ve got to ramp up testing and I think the idea of twice-weekly testing for every citizen is a really good idea, a really strong idea.
“We should have a mass rollout of testing, backed up with a tracing system so when we find the virus we can isolate the virus, suppress the virus, meaning we never have to go into lockdown again.”
Coronavirus in Scotland: A busy day for barbers and hairdressers as restrictions are lifted
A barbershop reopened at 6am on Monday to welcome back customers desperate for a haircut as further Covid restrictions were lifted in Scotland.
Coronavirus in Scotland: The Scottish government is considering digital vaccine passports says Health Secretary
The Scottish government is looking at digital vaccine passports software says Health Secretary Jeane Freeman
The Scottish government is working on the tools needed for digital vaccine certificates while keeping the ethical and equality questions under review, Scotland's Health Secretary has said.
Scottish Government looking at vaccine certificate software – Health Secretary
The Scottish Government is working on the tools needed for digital vaccine certificates while keeping the ethical and equality questions under review, Scotland’s Health Secretary has said.
Jeane Freeman said she favours digital certificates over paper versions as she believes the latter would place an unnecessary burden on the health service.
Her comments came ahead of a Downing Street news conference later on Monday at which the Prime Minister is expected to set out further details on the planned certification scheme in England.
Proposals were announced at the weekend for a “Covid status certification” scheme – dubbed “vaccine passports” – for mass gatherings south of the border, from sporting events to nightclubs.
The UK Government has said the certificates could be a mobile phone app or a paper document and they are expected to show whether an individual has received the vaccine, has recently tested negative for the virus, or has “natural immunity” having tested positive in the previous six months.
Ms Freeman told BBC Radio Scotland’s Good Morning Scotland programme there are ethical and equality questions over vaccine passports as not everyone can be inoculated.
She also said there are questions over how the scheme would work.
Argar denies UK Government has changed mind on vaccine passport
Edward Argar denied that the Government had changed its mind on the use of so-called vaccine passports.
Vaccine minister Nadhim Zahawi had previously called them discriminatory but the concept is set to be tested during upcoming pilot events.
Asked on BBC Breakfast whether the Government had changed its mind, health minister Mr Argar said: “I don’t think it is that at all.
“What we are seeing here is that there are a number of things we’ve had to do as a country and individuals over the past year that I don’t think any of us would choose to do or want to do but the nature of this disease has meant we’ve had to do some fairly unpalatable things that we would not have chosen to do.
“And in this context, and I don’t want to pre-empt the review that (Cabinet Office minister) Michael Gove is undertaking, but he has been clear that if you look at for example other countries like Israel, which have had a high level of vaccination and are beginning to see how they can open up their economy and country faster – I think they have something called ‘green passes’ – I think it is right that we look at this and see if there is a way that, while balancing all of those practical, ethical and fairness considerations, is there a way this could, in the short-term, speed-up our reopening of the country and getting back to doing the things we love?
“I don’t think anyone would wish to do it but I think it is right that it is looked at as: ‘Can this help us go a little bit faster and get our country back to normal?’”
Andrew Flintham, managing director for Tui UK and Ireland, said vaccine passports and testing were both ways of allowing people to travel.
Free twice-weekly Covid tests to be offered to everyone in England
Everyone in England is to be offered free, twice-weekly coronavirus tests as ministers prepare for the next stage of easing lockdown restrictions.
The lateral flow tests – which can provide results in around 30 minutes – will be available from Friday, regardless of whether people have symptoms.
The announcement comes as Boris Johnson is due to meet senior ministers on Monday to sign off the next stage of the road map out of lockdown.
People will be able to obtain a test through a home ordering service, workplace or school testing programme, or by collecting one at a local test site.
The Prime Minister said the scheme would help stop fresh outbreaks, enabling the authorities to identify and control new variants of the disease.
“As we continue to make good progress on our vaccine programme and with our road map cautiously easing restrictions under way, regular rapid testing is even more important to make sure those efforts are not wasted,” he said.
“That’s why we’re now rolling out free rapid tests to everyone across England – helping us to stop outbreaks in their tracks, so we can get back to seeing the people we love and doing the things we enjoy.”
Hairdressers reopen as Scotland’s coronavirus restrictions ease
A barber reopened at 6am on Monday to welcome back customers as further coronavirus restrictions were lifted in Scotland.
Hairdressers and barbers can reopen from Monday along with some non-essential shops, including garden centres and homeware stores, as lockdown measures are eased.
Tony Mann opened his barber shop in Giffnock, East Renfrewshire, at 6am to enable people to get their hair cut for the first time in months.
It will be a busy day for the four barbers working, with 96 customers booked in on April 5 when the shop is open until 8pm.
When he reopened in July last year after the first lockdown, Mr Mann opened at midnight and worked for 24 hours.
He decided not to do the same this time but is excited to be welcoming back customers to Tony Mann’s Barber Shop.
Mr Mann said: “It’s been four months since the last day we cut hair so the feeling today is slight anxiety and slight worry, like ‘is everything going to go to plan’, but I’m also feeling really excited and happy because my shop is open again.
“We start at 6am and finish at 8pm. I didn’t fancy doing another 24-hour shift this time but we’re open long enough. Last time we did 24 hours but what I’ve come to realise is doing shifts like that is not good for you.”
Nicola Sturgeon ‘can’t wait’ to get first dose of Covid vaccine
Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has said she “can’t wait” to receive her first dose of the coronavirus vaccine later this month.
She said it had been a “grim year” for everybody because of the virus, as she revealed that she will receive her first vaccine injection in mid-April.
Like many other people, Ms Sturgeon, 50, tweeted a picture of her blue envelope with the vaccine appointment after it arrived through her letterbox.
She told the PA news agency: “It’s middle of April it’s due. I can’t wait.”
She added that she has been waiting for the letter to arrive, as she was aware health service bosses in NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, where she lives, had started sending out appointments to those aged over 50.
Ms Sturgeon revealed she received her vaccination appointment at the same time as her husband, SNP chief executive Peter Murrell, got his.
She said: “Peter is a few years older than me, so I expected his to come before mine. He was getting very ‘where’s my blue envelope’.
“They actually came on the same day, and he gets his (vaccine) a day before me, at a different vaccination centre. Obviously I am in a younger cohort, which is why I am going somewhere else.”
Sturgeon: Covid may have made Scots think about benefits of self government
Coronavirus may have had an impact on support for Scottish independence, Nicola Sturgeon said, with the pandemic having “perhaps” made people think “about the benefit of self government”.
The SNP leader insisted that if she could “change things” so that the virus had never happened, and that support for independence was lower, she would “trade any day”.
Ms Sturgeon was clear: “There is no upside to Covid, and I don’t ever want to sound as if I am suggesting as if there is.”
She pledged that if re-elected to power in May’s Scottish Parliament elections “the first act of a re-elected SNP government, if there is a re-elected SNP government, will be to continue to take the country as safely as we can through Covid”.
But with support for independence “higher than it has been at any time ever”, Ms Sturgeon said coronavirus may have seen people reflect on the political situation.
The First Minister flatly rejected the arguments made by some of her opponents that the success of Scotland’s vaccination programme was down to being part of the UK.
“I find that a facile and actually kind of insulting argument,” she told the PA news agency.
“The vaccination rollout is a tribute to the brilliance of our scientists and the utter magnificence of the NHS operation to get it into people’s arms.
“Yes we procure on a UK basis, and the UK has successfully procured, but the idea that that would have been different if either the UK had still be in the EU or Scotland had been independent, just doesn’t really bear any scrutiny.”
Happy Easter Monday, and welcome to our live coronavirus blog.
Hairdressers to reopen in Scotland as some lockdown restrictions lift
Hairdressers and barbers can reopen in Scotland from Monday as further coronavirus restrictions are lifted.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon unveiled the country’s route map out of lockdown on March 16, with Monday seeing customers allowed back into some businesses.
Some non-essential shops can reopen, including garden centres and homeware stores, and click-and-collect services will resume.
University and college students will return for in-person teaching and outdoor contact sports for 12 to 17-year-olds will restart.
Visits to hairdressers and barbers must be pre-booked in advance.
Monday’s move will be followed on April 26 with a wider reopening of the economy, with beer gardens and gyms returning to trading and more people being able to meet up outdoors and inside public places.