Shielding in Scotland extended to 31 July
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No new coronavirus deaths in Scotland for second day running
Nicola Sturgeon, Scotland’s first minister, has announced that no one has been recorded to have died in Scotland from confirmed Covid-19 in the last 24 hours, for the second day running.
Sturgeon said this was very welcome news but cautioned against assuming the crisis was over. That result only included people with laboratory-confirmed Covid-19 cases, but it meant the total deaths by that measure remained at 2,415.
“This is, of course, the second day in a row that no deaths have been registered in the preceding 24 hours. This is very encouraging,” she said. “I can’t tell you how long I have hoped to report such a development and I know all of you have longed to heare that, but even so we must exercise caution.”
Sturgeon said it was still “highly likely” more Covid cases would emerge in the next few days since recorded cases often fell over the weekend.
The number of positive cases recorded in the last 24 hours grew by 18 to total 15,639 since the outbreak began; there were 1,042 patients in hospital, an increase of 40 from yesterday, with 24 people in intensive care, down by one.
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The Scottish Tories have called on Nicola Sturgeon to sack her health secretary, Jeane Freeman, after it emerged that 18,000 shielding people with underlying health conditions were wrongly told they could leave their homes today.
Jackson Carlaw, the Scottish Tory leader, said it was the latest in a series of incidents where Freeman or her officials had allegedly blundered. Those included failing to disclose Scotland’s first outbreak at a Nike conference in Edinburgh in late February, and failing to test hospital patients being discharged into care homes.
In an intervention demonstrating the temporary truce between the Scottish National party and Tories has now ended, Carlaw said his party had identified eleven times where Freeman had been lucky to remain in post. That included the disclosure at the weekend that hospital staff are still not being routinely tested for Covid-19.
“The misplaced loyalty shown by the first minister to her health secretary is having a negative impact on the NHS,” he said.
“A litany of problems had built up before, not least infection deaths of children at the SNP’s flagship hospital in Glasgow [the Queen Elizabeth], and the continued unacceptable delays of the new Sick Kids in Edinburgh.
“These have been compounded by a dismal performance during the pandemic too. Nicola Sturgeon has to take the blinkers off and find someone who can actually get on top of these problems.”
The Daily Record reported today that nearly 18,000 shielding people were sent letters in April on behalf of the then chief medical officer, Catherine Calderwood, telling them they could stop shielding today, 8 June.
Officials had miscalculated when those people began their 12 week long period of shielding: on Wednesday last week they were sent a further letter saying they needed to continue shielding until 18 June.
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Travellers to UK say quarantine measure lack common sense
Pub gardens in England could open from 22 June
Opening beer gardens before the end of the month would give struggling pubs a psychological boost but most would still lose money, JD Wetherspoon’s founder, Tim Martin, has said.
The government is reportedly ready to let pub beer gardens in England reopen from 22 June as part of plans drawn up by a group of ministers, dubbed the “Save Summer Six”, who are looking at ways to restart the hospitality industry earlier than initially planned.
The proposals, first reported in the Financial Times, would allow some of the 27,000 pubs that have outdoor space to serve customers for the first time in three months.
Martin, the chairman of JD Wetherspoon, said: “Few pubs will be able to make a profit using outdoor space only but partial reopening will provide a psychological boost to a beleaguered industry.
“It will signal the intent of the government to make progress towards normality, which will be welcome.”
Almost 700 of Wetherspoons’ 867 pubs have a beer garden, roof terrace or patio and the company has previously set out plans for a coronavirus pandemic-era pub involving bar staff wearing goggles and protective screens between tables.