Coronavirus in Scotland RECAP: First Minister gives lunchtime briefing | Glasgow to remain in higher level of restrictions for another week | Nicola Sturgeon warns case numbers rising in Scotland | Spike in Covid cases in Dundee | Boris Johnson says Olympics can ‘take place safely’ as Japan extends Covid crackdown
Hello, and welcome to our live blog for Friday, May 28.
Follow along for all the latest on the pandemic as well as live coverage of Nicola Sturgeon’s lunchtime Covid briefing, when the First Minister will announce whether Glasgow will move down to Level 2.
Coronavirus in Scotland LIVE: The latest updates on Covid-19 in Scotland and around the world
One-jab Johnson & Johnson vaccine approved for use in the UK
A single-shot coronavirus vaccine from Johnson & Johnson has been approved for use in the UK.
The vaccine, developed by Johnson & Johnson’s pharmaceutical arm Janssen, has been shown to be 67% effective overall at preventing moderate to severe Covid-19, with studies suggesting it also offers complete protection from admission to hospital and death.
Announcing that the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency had approved the safety of the jab, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said: “This is a further boost to the UK’s hugely successful vaccination programme, which has already saved over 13,000 lives, and means that we now have four safe and effective vaccines approved to help protect people from this awful virus.
“As Janssen is a single-dose vaccine, it will play an important role in the months to come as we redouble our efforts to encourage everyone to get their jabs and potentially begin a booster programme later this year.”
The UK has ordered 20 million doses of the vaccine, which England’s deputy chief medical officer, Professor Jonathan Van-Tam, has previously said could be used for hard-to-reach groups of people, where recalling them for a second jab is not always successful.
PM suggests Olympics can ‘take place safely’ as Japan extends Covid crackdown
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has suggested the Olympic Games “can take place safely” in Japan this summer, according to No 10, despite doubts over whether spectators can attend.
Japan has extended a coronavirus state of emergency in Tokyo and other areas by 20 days, with infections still not slowing, as it prepares to host the Olympics in just over 50 days.
The state of emergency in the host capital was scheduled to end on Monday, but hospitals in some areas are still overflowing with Covid-19 patients and serious cases have recently hit new highs.
Olympic organisers must decide at around the end of the 20 days whether to allow any domestic fans at all, after overseas spectators were banned months ago.
Despite the extended measures, Mr Johnson appeared to offer his Japanese counterpart a vote of confidence from the UK during a phone call on Friday.
The 2020 Games have already been delayed by a year due to the pandemic, but the push to deliver on holding them in Tokyo has led to protests in Japan.
A Downing Street spokeswoman said: “The Prime Minister spoke to Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga this morning ahead of the UK’s G7 summit next month.
“The Prime Minister expressed his support for the Tokyo Olympics, and noted Japan’s efforts to ensure the Games can take place safely.”
Scots should do their “civic public duty” and get vaccinated, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has said.
Speaking at the coronavirus briefing in Edinburgh, she said: “Getting vaccinated is in all of our best interests, whatever age we are.”
She added: “It’s also the most important thing we can all do to help our family, our friends and our neighbours – by getting vaccinated we’re helping reduce the overall harm and making it easier for all of us to get back to normal.
“Rolling up our sleeves – not once but twice – really is part of our civic public duty to each other and to the country right now.”
The First Minister also said Scots should be getting tested regularly, using the lateral flow tests available through the Government, along with following current public health advice.
People in Glasgow should “take heart” that coronavirus figures appear to be dropping, Nicola Sturgeon has said.
The First Minister announced on Friday at the coronavirus briefing that Glasgow would move down to Level 2 from next Saturday if the current figures remain good.
“My message to the people of Glasgow is don’t lose heart, on the contrary, take heart from the progress that we are seeing,” she said.
“I live in Glasgow, so I know how hard this is from my own personal life, but please continue to help with all of the public health efforts that are in place because if we continue to do this then we will make that move down from Level 3 to Level 2 and then after that hopefully get back on track and down the levels further.”
Ms Sturgeon also said she would confirm if the rest of Scotland would be able to move to Level 1 on June 7, as planned, on Tuesday in Holyrood.
Glasgow will move to Level 2 from next Saturday if the current trajectory of Covid-19 continues, Nicola Sturgeon has said.
The First Minister said at the coronavirus briefing in Edinburgh that the case numbers in Glasgow – 234 new cases were reported on Friday – were still “uncomfortably high” and it would be “premature” to move Scotland’s biggest city into Level 2 immediately.
Cases last week in Glasgow continued to rise by 30%, the First Minister reported, while test positivity remained around 4%, but public health experts have said the restrictions have had an impact on transmission in the city.
“There are some early signs that the situation is stabilising in Glasgow,” the First Minister said.
But she added: “Weighing up all of these different factors is inevitably really difficult – case numbers in Glasgow… are uncomfortably high, but we are seeing signs of progress.
“The view of the national incident management team is two-fold. Firstly, that it would be premature to move Glasgow out of Level 3 immediately this week while the situation remains so fragile.
“However, and secondly, if incidence continues to stabilise and assuming levels of hospitalisation remain reasonably stable, the incident management team has made clear to me that they would support a move to Level 2 from the end of next week.”
There is both “cause for concern” and “cause for optimism” in Scotland’s battle against coronavirus, Nicola Sturgeon has said.
Speaking at the coronavirus briefing in Edinburgh on Friday, the First Minister said there still needed to be a “reasonable degree of caution” exercised.
Case numbers, she said, are on the rise in Scotland, with Friday’s daily case number the highest since March 25 and the R number in Scotland potentially rising as high as 1.3.
She said: “A key factor behind the increases… is that the new April-02 variant, which we think is more transmissible than most other types of the virus, probably now accounts for 50% or even more of our daily cases.”
She added: “The increase in cases so far does seem to be concentrated in younger age groups and this may indicate that vaccination is having a protective effect for older people which of course we want to see.”
The First Minister went on to say that the Scottish Government is monitoring the extent to which the vaccine programme is breaking the links between rising cases and “significantly rising cases of serious illness and death”.
Nicola Sturgeon announces Glasgow will remain in Level 3 for the time being. If positive signs continue, the city will move to Level 2 next Friday. Announcement promised on Wednesday
Two more deaths confirmed as case numbers rise
Scotland has recorded two coronavirus deaths and 641 cases in the past 24 hours, Nicola Sturgeon said.
It means the death toll under this daily measure – of people who first tested positive for the virus within the previous 28 days – stands at 7,668.
Speaking at a coronavirus briefing, Ms Sturgeon said 234,312 people have now tested positive for the virus and the daily test positivity rate is 2.6%, up from 1.8% the previous day.
Of the new cases, 234 are in Greater Glasgow and Clyde, 132 in Lothian and 104 in Lanarkshire.
A total of 90 people were in hospital yesterday with recently confirmed Covid-19, up seven, with six patients in intensive care, up two.
So far, 3,196,051 people have received the first dose of a Covid-19 vaccination, up 21,244, and 1,971,006 have received their second dose, up 28,721.