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

Live updates on Covid-19 from Scotland, the UK, and around the world.

By Gary Flockhart
Friday, 28th May 2021, 11:34 am
Updated Friday, 28th May 2021, 1:11 pm
Follow along for all the latest on the pandemic.
Follow along for all the latest on the pandemic.

Hello, and welcome to our live blog for Friday, May 28.

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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

Last updated: Friday, 28 May, 2021, 13:00

  • Glasgow could move to Level 2 next week
  • Universities face ‘crunch time’ due to Brexit and pandemic
  • 641 new Covid cases in Scotland reported on Friday
  • One-jab Johnson & Johnson vaccine approved for use in the UK

641 new Covid cases in Scotland reported on Friday

Irn Bru maker reports boost from pub reopenings

Scottish drinks company AG Barr has said it is seeing encouraging trading as people return to restaurants, pubs and bars around the UK.

The business said it has been trading in line with expectations over the last four months, despite lockdown restrictions affecting much of the country over that period.

The Irn Bru maker reported no figures ahead of its annual general meeting on Friday, but shareholders were given a small insight into how the business has performed.

“Despite lockdown restrictions being in place across much of the first quarter, Barr soft drinks trading has been relatively strong since the start of the new financial year,” AG Barr told investors.

“As lockdown restrictions have eased, we have seen a positive impact on both our sales volume and mix, with a shift back towards ‘drink now’, hospitality and leisure.”

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon will hold a coronavirus briefing at 12.15pm with national clinical director Jason Leitch.

Glasgow restrictions reviewed as experts say Covid cases stabilising

Nicola Sturgeon is set to announce whether Glasgow’s coronavirus restrictions will be eased, with experts suggesting case numbers are stabilising in the city.

Glasgow is the only part of Scotland under Level 3 lockdown rules, prohibiting non-essential travel out of the area and imposing greater restrictions on socialising, hospitality and businesses.

The First Minister is due to announce whether there will be any changes to the measures in place for Glasgow at a coronavirus briefing on Friday afternoon, a week after she moved Moray – the only other area in a higher tier – down to Level 2.

The daily Covid-19 statistics on Thursday revealed 170 new cases in the NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde area, slightly below the weekly average of 184.

According to the Public Health Scotland figures, that is 110.2 cases per 100,000 of the population over the past seven days – more than twice the figure of the next highest health board area – NHS Forth Valley which is on 52.2.

Broken down by area, Glasgow city has had 924 cases in the last week at a rate of 145.9 per 100,000 of the population – second only to Clackmannanshire which has a rate of 151.3 but has only seen 78 new cases over the seven days.

Following pleas from business owners for clarity about when they can fully reopen, Ms Sturgeon said on Thursday that there are “reasons to be optimistic” about the situation in the city.

She said she wants Glasgow back on track “as quickly as possible, but that’s got to be done responsibly and safely”.

The Hidden Door festival will return in September – and judging by this year’s venue, the event is going to be a gas!

The Hidden Door festival will return in September – and judging by this year’s venue, the event is going to be a gas!

All you need to know before Nicola Sturgeon's briefing in Scotland on Friday, May 28

As a review of the coronavirus restrictions is due, here is all you need to know before Nicola Sturgeon's briefing in Scotland on Friday, May 28.

Linda Bauld, professor of public health and behavioural scientist at the University of Edinburgh, said “things do look like they are stabilising in Glasgow”.

“I think what makes it different from last year is that it does seem most of the infections are in younger adults – that was the case last year – but it’s not translating through yet to high numbers of people in hospital because fewer older people are becoming infected,” she said.

Regarding Murdo Fraser’s point about a more targeted, neighbourhood approach, she said: “You could try and do that here, but I think you need to be very clear people, for example, couldn’t travel very much outside that area.

“It’s difficult to see how you would really have an impact, for example, keeping hospitality closed in Pollokshields West and not in other parts of Glasgow … because people move around.

“I understand Murdo’s point and I think what he’s saying is ‘Let’s be as targeted and local as possible’, which I welcome, but I think the ‘targeted and local’ needs to be the public health response rather than shutting things.”

The head of industry body UK Hospitality has called on the Government to extend support to the hospitality sector if the date for full lifting of restrictions is postponed.

Kate Nicholls told Sky News: “Businesses will be forced to choose between paying business rates their taxes on their property or paying their people and keeping the business afloat.”

She continued: “That is not a position we want our businesses to be in, and it can’t be right after 15 months of closure and heavy restrictions that the Government would suddenly cut the industry loose.”

Ms Nicholls said proper support was needed “to avoid many of them going bust in very short order as a result of those restrictions continuing”.

She added: “Even just a couple of extra weeks will be devastating for many because they’ve run out of cash they are existing on fumes at the moment, and the government support, however extensive it has been has not been enough to cover the costs.”

“The industry was haemorrhaging half-a-billion pounds a month, every month that it was closed,” she said.

Murdo Fraser added: “We know the problem is not uniform… we know it is isolated particularly in the south side and it seems unreasonable for the whole city of Glasgow to be affected by one blanket approach.

“We would rather see a targeted approach if there has not been an improvement rather than treating a whole city as a single entity,” the Scottish Conservative Covid-19 recovery spokesman told BBC’s Good Morning Scotland.

On Thursday, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said she wants Glasgow back on track “as quickly as possible, but that’s got to be done responsibly and safely”.

She said: “I know how difficult it is for residents and businesses across Glasgow but I also know how dangerous it would be if we eased restrictions too quickly and allowed a new variant of this virus, that we know is spreading perhaps even more quickly than the variant at the start of the year, to take a grip again.”

Areas of Glasgow with higher concentrations of coronavirus infections should be targeted with testing and vaccinations rather than the whole city being subject to “blanket” restrictions, the Scottish Conservatives have said.

Murdo Fraser, Scottish Conservative Covid-19 recovery spokesman, said if the latest data shows infections are still high then a “more targeted” approach was needed.

Glasgow has been under strict coronavirus restrictions for 270 days and is the only part of the country under tougher Level 3 constraints.

An update on restrictions in Scotland’s largest city is expected from First Minister Nicola Sturgeon on Friday afternoon.

Mr Fraser told the BBC’s Good Morning Scotland: “Our view is the current council-wide lockdown in Glasgow has not been the right approach.

“Large parts of Glasgow do not see large numbers of people infected with Covid and yet are affected by these lockdown restrictions.

“If the data is still showing a specific problem in Glasgow what we should be doing is isolating that problem… localised surge testing, accelerating vaccinations in those communities and greater support for local businesses who have been really suffering.”

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