Nicola Sturgeon at FMQs RECAP: First Minister issues coronvirus update as she faces calls to resign over Salmond inquiry evidence

Here is how coronavirus updates from Scotland, the UK and around the world broke during the day.

Thursday, 4th March 2021, 9:24 am
Updated Thursday, 4th March 2021, 2:08 pm

Nicola Sturgeon gave the Scottish Government’s latest coronavirus update at parliament today before First Minister’s Questions got underway.

The FM’s update came after she spent eight hours answering questions at the Holyrood inquiry into the Scottish Government’s handling of sexual harassment complaints yesterday.

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Nicola Sturgeon to give coronavirus update and face FMQs amid calls for her to resign over Salmond Inquiry.

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Nicola Sturgeon at FMQs RECAP: Follow along here for all of Thursday’s updates

Last updated: Thursday, 04 March, 2021, 13:25

FM says she answered questions for eight hours yesterday and intends to ‘rest on that'

FM “I intend to rest on that, to allow both the committee and the inquiry on the ministerial code to conclude their own work.

“In the meantime, I’m going to get on with the job, so to speak, most people watching at home right now want me to get on with, which is leading this country through and out of a pandemic.”

FM says they saw the “true colours of the conservatives yesterday”.

FM said that by asking her to apologise for the “inappropriate actions of a man” demonstrates that the Tories are “playing a political game”.

Ruth Davidson responded saying that they have “every right to question our First Minister, who is the head of Government, who failed these two women”.

FM said she thinks that “people across the country are becoming heartily sick” of Ruth Davidson “lecturing anybody else on democracy”.

FM said she thinks that “people across the country are becoming heartily sick” of Ruth Davidson “lecturing anybody else on democracy”.

FM: “In a few weeks I subject myself to the ultimate scrutiny, the scrutiny and the verdict of the people of Scotland, the verdict that matters most.

“And as I do so Ruth Davidson will be slinking off to the House of Lords.”

‘The exchanges that we have just heard represent the worst of our politics’ says Scotland’s new Labour leader Anas Sarwar

When asked if “any minister” should resign if they are found to be in breach of the ministerial code FM said: “I will demand the right to due process.

“Let’s wait to see what the outcome of the inquiries are when they are published and then we can debate in this chamber the result of that”.

FM says the key risk is ‘new variants coming into the country'

FM: “We continue to think that international travel restrictions are essential.

“The travel restrictions we have in place, are more stringent than in other parts of the UK, and we do have a concern, I have articulated this concern on numerous occasions, that that difference leaves weaknesses in our defence against importation of the virus, so we will continue to work with the UK Government to try to fill those gaps and to try to encourage a more uniform position.”

FM: “The key risk, as we suppress the virus here and vaccinate more people, is new variants coming into the country that potentially undermine the efficacy of the vaccines, so this is one of the most serious challenges and top priorities that we have in the weeks to come.”

Coronavirus in Scotland: 500 new Covid cases and 24 further deaths recorded on Thursday

It brings the death toll under this measure – of people who first tested positive for the virus within the previous 28 days – to 7,398.

Speaking ahead of First Minister’s Questions, Nicola Sturgeon said the daily test positivity rate is 2.5%, down from 2.6% the previous day.

There are 726 people in hospital confirmed to have the virus, down 24 in 24 hours, and 69 patients are in intensive care, down one.

Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie: “Do we have to threaten another motion of no confidence in John Swinney to force him to respect the wealth of this Parliament, First Minister?”

FM: “It seems here that the opposition want to pick the principles that they want us to abide by...”

When asked how is the Scottish Government planning to encourage and reengage with a society that for the past year has been out of the habit of participating, FM said that is goes beyond the funding for social connections and it “is about how we help people get back to ways of living, that have perhaps become less normal for people”.

FM: “I think that is something perhaps that will take time, but something that the government will continue to pay a lot of attention to”.

Vaccine uptake has been ‘higher than anticipated’ says FM

FM: “Vaccine hesitancy is something that has been on our minds, since before the start of the vaccination programme.

“The good news is, so far, uptake has been higher than anticipated but we know that our particular groups in the country, we’re encouraging uptake may be more difficult, and we must address that because we must ensure that all adults are included.”

FM said they are working to ensure that the vaccinations are reaching all parts of the population including minority and ethnic communities.

FM says that she wants to see the Edinburgh festival go from 'strength to strength'

FM: “As we come out of this pandemic there is no doubt about the importance of Culture and Arts in this process”.

The Government is focused on how they can quickly and safely start to lift restrictions so that the services and people’s lives more generally can “get back to normal” says FM.

The Scottish Government will “robustly oppose any attempt to weaken long standing safeguards” regarding the Human Rights Act.

FM says the the UK should follow Scotland’s example, but “as a bare minimum should give a firm commitment to maintaining the existing protections provided by the Human Rights Act”.

FM encourages older people to make use of Age Scotland’s helpline to tackle loneliness during the pandemic.

FM: “It is a fantastic resource and people who need it should not hesitate to use it”.

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