Nicola Sturgeon statement RECAP: First Minister updates MSPs on next steps in Scotland’s exit from lockdown
Live updates on Covid-19 in Scotland, the UK, and around the world.
Follow along here to stay up-to-date with the latest developments on Tuesday, March 23.
Coronavirus in Scotland RECAP: The latest updates on Tuesday, March 23
Last updated: Tuesday, 23 March, 2021, 12:56
Today, I want to reflect on the anxiety, isolation, loss and grief that have marked the last 12 months, but I also want to acknowledge the compassion, solidarity and love that has brought hope and light to these darkest of times.
FM and opposition leaders hold minute’s silence on lockdown anniversary
Number of homeless in temporary accommodation up by a quarter during pandemic
The number of Scots being housed in temporary accommodation increased by more than a quarter during the Covid-19 pandemic, the latest homelessness figures show.
Scottish Government statistics showed that as of September 30 last year there were 14,151 households in temporary accommodation – a 24% increase on the same date in 2019.
Over that period, the number being housed in bed and breakfast population virtually doubled: rising by 99% from 710 in September 2019 to 1,414 the following year.
Charity campaigners at Crisis said the record numbers of people being housed in temporary accommodation meant some would have to struggle without access to proper cooking and laundry facilities.
Authorities across Scotland acted to move rough sleepers off the streets at the start of the coronavirus pandemic last year.
Crisis chief executive, Jon Sparkes, said: “At the start of the pandemic our priority was supporting people off the streets and ensuring they had safe, self-contained accommodation.
“There is no doubt that extraordinary action by national and local government, as well as homelessness services, saved lives from both coronavirus and the cold, but these interventions are short-term solutions.”
Silence held to mark national day of reflection for anniversary of lockdown
A minute’s silence has been held one year on from the start of the first coronavirus lockdown to remember those who died during the pandemic.
Prominent buildings and landmarks throughout the UK will be illuminated as part of the national day of reflection, including the Kelpies, Wallace Monument and Ness Bridge.
People are encouraged to stand on their doorsteps with phones, candles and torches at 8pm to signify a “beacon of remembrance”.
End of life charity Marie Curie is organising the event, which is being backed by more than 100 organisations, including the emergency services, businesses, charities and community groups.
The Scottish Government is among those supporting the event and is inviting people to take part and to reach out to someone they know is grieving.
Ken Macintosh, the Scottish Parliament’s presiding officer, led the minute’s silence on the garden lobby steps at Holyrood at noon along with Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and other party leaders.
He said: “This global pandemic has taken so much from so many. This Parliament stands shoulder to shoulder with all those who have suffered, all those grieving loved ones, and those whose lives have been changed forever.
“As parliamentarians we have heard directly from people who have been sorely affected, but we have also seen our own communities responding with care and understanding.
“This should give us all hope for the future as we seek to rebuild our country.”
Experts call for creation of advisory committee ready to tackle future pandemics
Leading experts have warned that lessons learned throughout the pandemic should not be lost in preparation for another global health crisis.
Professor Linda Bauld, a professor of public health at Edinburgh University and Dr Helen Stagg, also from Edinburgh University, were appointed as advisers to the Scottish Parliament’s Covid-19 Committee in December.
In the committee’s legacy report, before Holyrood enters its pre-election recess on Thursday, the experts urge MSPs to use the work done in the last year to tackle coronavirus in preparation for any other pandemic in the future.
A note from the two at the end of the Covid-19 Committee’s legacy report said: “It will be vital to focus on pandemic preparedness in the future so that
critical knowledge and capacity built over the past year is not lost.
“A standing advisory committee on pandemics, for example, would go some way to ensuring we are better equipped to face the next global challenge.”
The committee would bring together a range of people, “whose time can be leveraged so they can rapidly contribute to pandemic efforts”, the academics said.
A standing committee would also be responsible for combatting misinformation, the pair said, as well as “building public confidence in legitimate information sources and people’s ability to distinguish between legitimate and more questionable sources, while appreciating the root sources of misinformation in particular communities”.
Boris Johnson will be joined at the 5pm press conference by chief medical officer Professor Chris Whitty and chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance, No 10 has said.
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Nation falls silent to remember Covid-19 victims
People across the UK have taken part in a minute’s silence to remember Covid-19 victims, marking one year since the first lockdown began.
UK’s wider Covid-19 death toll nears 150,000
More than 149,000 deaths involving coronavirus have now occurred in the UK, latest figures show.
A total of 149,117 people have had Covid-19 recorded on their death certificate since the pandemic began, with more than a third of deaths (37%) occurring since the start of 2021.
The highest number of deaths to take place on a single day was 1,465 on January 19.
During the first wave of the virus, the daily death toll peaked at 1,459 deaths on April 8.
The figures have been published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) and provide the fullest picture so far of how the Covid-19 pandemic has unfolded in the UK.
They are a more comprehensive measure of deaths than the numbers published daily by the Government, which count only those who died within 28 days of testing positive for coronavirus, and which currently stand at a total of 126,172.
The ONS total of 149,117 includes all mentions of Covid-19 on death certificates for deaths that have occurred up to March 12 2021, including suspected cases.
About nine in 10 registered coronavirus deaths have Covid-19 listed as the underlying cause.