Nicola Sturgeon briefing RECAP: Margaret Ferrier MP refuses to resign her position

Follow here for all coronavirus updates in Scotland, the UK and around the world.

By Rachel Mackie
Monday, 12th October 2020, 2:19 pm

The First Minister has again called for MP Margaret Ferrier to resign after the SNP member broke coronavirus rules by taking the train back to Scotland after testing positive.

Ms Ferrier told the Scottish Sun: “This has been an awful experience but I’ll keep fighting for my constituents because that’s who I am.”

Nicola Sturgeon responded to this news saying: “I couldn’t be clearer, she should step down from Parliament.

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Photo credit Andrew Milligan/PA Wire

“The lapse of judgement in travelling hundreds of miles knowing she had tested positive for Covid-19 was so significant and so unacceptable that I don’t think there is any other acceptable course of action for her.”

Scotland recorded 956 new positive cases of coronavirus on Sunday.

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Coronavirus in Scotland: Follow here for all Monday’s updates

Last updated: Monday, 12 October, 2020, 12:22

  • 961 new coronavirus cases announced on Monday.
  • Visitors to Western General oncology ward hit by Covid did not have their temperatures checked.
  • Seven confirmed dead after outbreak at West Lothian care home.

Nicola Sturgeon repeats calls for Margaret Ferrier to resign as MP

Despite backlash over her journeys between Glasgow and Westminster with Covid-19 symptoms and then having tested positive for the virus, the former SNP MP has said she will not resign.

Ms Ferrier told the Scottish Sun that having the infection caused her to “act out of character” and she “panicked” before taking the 350-mile trip by train back to Scotland.

New three-tier Covid restrictions expected to hit the North of England

Pubs, gyms and casinos will be forced to close and all but essential travel to and from coronavirus hotspots banned under new measures aimed at limiting the spread of the coronavirus.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson will spell out his three-tier strategy on Monday with areas in England labelled as medium, high or very high risk, which will inform the "appropriate interventions" needed in each area.

Merseyside is expected to be among the areas subjected to Tier 3 restrictions - but there is still disagreement about a financial support package for the area should harsh measures be imposed.

A statement from seven local leaders, including Metro mayor Steve Rotheram and Liverpool Mayor Joe Anderson, said: "We made it clear we do not feel that the Furlough scheme announced recently is adequate and that businesses in the Region especially those in the hospitality sector and those serving it will be damaged and many will suffer long term damage or close for good.

"Government made it very, very clear they would not shift and improve the scheme."

Under the furlough scheme, the government paid 80% of workers' wages until August, with the scheme winding down until it is closed at the end of the month.

Coronavirus in Scotland: Margaret Ferrier MP claims SNP wrote her apology and 'forced her' to issue it

Margaret Ferrier has said that the SNP has ‘hung her out to dry’ after she breached the coronavirus laws.

British Airways chief executive Alex Cruz has stepped down as the airline struggles to cope with the coronavirus pandemic.

The carrier's parent company, IAG, announced that he has stepped down after four-and-a-half years in the role.

He has been replaced by Sean Doyle, who is the boss of another IAG airline, Aer Lingus.

Luis Gallego, who took over as IAG chief executive last month, said: "We're navigating the worst crisis faced in our industry and I'm confident these internal promotions will ensure IAG is well placed to emerge in a strong position.

"I want to thank Alex for all that he has done at British Airways. He worked tirelessly to modernise the airline in the years leading up to the celebration of its 100th anniversary.

"Since then, he has led the airline through a particularly demanding period and has secured restructuring agreements with the vast majority of employees."

British Airways has come under fire in recent months for its handling of up to 12,000 job cuts.

Covid-19 contact tracing teams run by private firms are slashed by UK Government Department of Health

The number of non-NHS contact tracers has been cut as more work is passed to local teams, the Department of Health has confirmed.

Non-NHS call handlers were reduced from 18,000 to 12,000 in August, and to 10,000 at the end of September.

It follows reports that some call handlers employed by private firms as part of a Government contract did not have enough work to do.

It is also part of a shift to more localised contact tracing as outlined by Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick on Sunday.

Private firms Serco and Sitel are now providing 5,000 call handlers each to make up the 10,000 figure.

A spokesman for the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) said: "NHS Test and Trace is providing tests at an unprecedented scale - over 240,000 a day on average last week - and more than half a million people have been contacted to self-isolate, helping cut transmission.

"As contact tracing becomes more locally targeted, we have adjusted the number of non-NHS call handlers as well as ring-fencing specific teams to work closely with local authorities and public health teams to make sure we reach people in their communities and prevent the spread of Covid-19."

It is understood that local contact tracing teams are to be given more cash to boost services.

Cambridge University releases online game to help people spot fake Covid-19 news

An online game designed to help people spot fake news amid the coronavirus pandemic has been launched by Cambridge University in partnership with the UK Government.

The game, called Go Viral!, puts players in the shoes of a purveyor of fake pandemic news.

It aims to give people a taste of the techniques used to spread fake news on social media so that they can better identify - and disregard - such misinformation in future.

A study from the team behind the game, published last week in the Journal of Experimental Psychology: Applied, indicated that a single play of a similar game can reduce susceptibility to false information for at least three months.

Dr Sander van der Linden, leader of the project and the Social Decision-Making Lab at Cambridge, said: "Fake news can travel faster and lodge itself deeper than the truth.

"Fact-checking is vital, but it comes too late and lies have already spread like the virus.

"We are aiming to pre-emptively debunk, or pre-bunk, misinformation by exposing people to a mild dose of the methods used to disseminate fake news.

"It's what social psychologists call 'inoculation theory'."

The new game, which takes five to seven minutes to play, introduces players to the basics of online manipulation in the era of coronavirus.

It acts as a simple guide to common techniques: using emotionally charged language to stoke outrage and fear, deploying fake experts to sow doubt, and mining conspiracies for social media 'likes'.

100 top Scots hotels demand Covid rule change in letter to Nicola Sturgeon

One hundred bosses from the biggest and most prestigious hotels in Scotland have written to Nicola Sturgeon demanding changes to controversial new Coronavirus restrictions.

China to test nine million after fresh coronavirus outbreak

Chinese health authorities will test all nine million people in the eastern city of Qingdao for coronavirus this week after nine cases linked to a hospital were found.

The announcement broke a two-month streak with no virus transmissions reported within China, though China has a practice of not reporting asymptomatic cases.

The ruling Communist Party has lifted most curbs on travel and business but still monitors travellers and visitors to public buildings for signs of infection.

Authorities were investigating the source of the infections found in eight patients at Qingdao's Municipal Chest Hospital and one family member, the country's National Health Commission (NHC) said.

"The whole city will be tested within five days," the NHC said on its social media account.

China, where the pandemic began in December, has reported 4,634 deaths and 85,578 cases, plus nine suspected cases that have yet to be confirmed.

The last reported virus transmissions within China were four patients found on August 15 in the north-western city of Urumqi in the Xinjiang region. All the cases reported since then were in travellers from outside the mainland.

The ruling party lifted measures in April that cut off most access to cities with a total of some 60 million people including Wuhan in central China.

Qingdao is a busy port and headquarters for companies including Haier, a major appliance maker, and the Tsingtao brewery. The government gave no indication whether the latest cases had contact with travel or trade.

Travellers arriving from abroad in China still are required to undergo a 14-day quarantine.

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