Nicola Sturgeon FMQs RECAP: Scotland's First Minister challenged on drug deaths | Douglas Ross calls for action | Anas Sarwar demands answers on 'PPE shortages'
Latest updates on the Covid-19 crisis from Scotland and around the world.
Scroll down to see the latest news on the pandemic on Thursday, June 17.
Covid Scotland: The latest updates on the pandemic on Thursday, June 17
Last updated: Thursday, 17 June, 2021, 12:50
- Nicola Sturgeon to attend FMQs at Holyrood
- Alcohol sales in Scotland drop to lowest level for 26 years
- Ryanair ‘to begin legal action over travel traffic light system’
Coronavirus in Scotland: How to watch Nicola Sturgeon at FMQs, when is the First Minister speaking at Holyrood, what questions might she ask from opposition leaders including Douglas Ross and Anas Sarwar
Nicola Sturgeon will be facing the Scottish Parliament for First Minister’s Questions on Thursday
Risk of Covid plummets 21 days after first vaccine dose, analysis suggests
The chance of getting Covid-19 after being vaccinated drops sharply 21 days following a first dose, new analysis suggests.
People who become infected post-vaccination are also less likely to have symptoms than those who test positive for the virus but who have not been jabbed.
The findings have been published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) and are based on a sample of adults who had received the vaccine up to May 31.
They suggest the risk of infection increases following a first dose, peaking at around 16 days.
There is then a “strong decrease” in risk up to around one month after the first dose, and the risk then declines slowly but steadily.
Rates of infection post-vaccination are likely to be very low, however.
Out of a sample of 297,493 people vaccinated, 1,477 (0.5%) were subsequently found to have a new positive infection of Covid-19.
There was a very slight difference between whether the person had received the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine (0.8% of the total) and Oxford/AstraZeneca (0.3%).
From a sample of 210,918 adults who had received both doses of vaccine, just 0.1% were subsequently found to have a new positive infection.
Possible explanations for infection shortly after getting the vaccine include someone catching Covid-19 before they had received a jab, or exposure to Covid-19 at a vaccination centre, the ONS said.
Fans without tickets told not to travel to London
Football fans who do not have tickets for Euro 2020 games should not travel to London amid ongoing Covid restrictions, a senior police officer has warned.
Metropolitan Police Deputy Assistant Commissioner Laurence Taylor told LBC radio: “We’re asking people to work with us.
“We know people want to come and enjoy it, but all the events in London are ticketed only and, with the current Covid restrictions, spaces in pubs and bars will be limited.
“So if people don’t have tickets, we would ask them not to come to London.”
His comments came ahead of England facing off against Scotland at Wembley Stadium on Friday night.
Mr Taylor said events with large crowds, often where alcohol is consumed, create “policing challenges” but that the force has a “robust plan” in place.
Asked about fans potentially gathering in the capital, such as the scenes seen in Trafalgar Square in previous years, he said: “The fan zone is a ticketed event only and is only available for a small number of people to ensure that it is Covid-compliant and works within its risk assessment.
“People gathering around in larger groups outside of Covid restrictions can expect to be policed.”
Treasury minister Jesse Norman said “an enormous amount of money” has already been poured into the arts during the pandemic, when asked if a Government-backed insurance scheme could be introduced to support festivals.
Festival in doubt without funding, says Peter Gabriel
Womad festival co-founder Peter Gabriel said the event may have to be cancelled this year without support from the Government.
He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “If we’re trying to restore cultural life and normality then we do need a bit of help here.
“It’s a huge industry now and we would like to get some confidence and security from something like an insurance scheme, some sort of underwriting scheme.”
Asked if festivals should become part of the pilot scheme on large events, he said: “It’s very difficult and obviously we want to be included, the vaccine programme has been amazing.
“If we can just lock those in and get some support for independent festivals particularly, but all the festival sector, then I think we can have a great summer.”
Asked whether organisers will have to cancel the festival this year without support, he said: “I think we have to. We’ve been faced with bankruptcy on two occasions previous to that and if we’re trying to secure the future of the festival… we can’t risk sinking it this year.”
NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde has apologised for recent queues at its Covid vaccine centres, including the SSE Hydro in Glasgow.
Boy born weighing less than a bag of sugar meets paramedics who saved his life
A boy born weighing less than a bag of sugar has been reunited with three paramedics who saved his life.
Finlay MacKenzie was born at 26 weeks in March last year at just 1lb 13oz (0.8kg) and needed CPR from ambulance staff.
They used just two fingers to compress his chest because of how delicate and fragile he was, said the Scottish Ambulance Service.
The infant, of Glasgow, spent 11 weeks in hospital but is now 15 months and weighs a healthy 10kg.
At Glasgow East Ambulance Station on Tuesday, Finlay, his mother Gemma Maxwell, 29, and father Niall MacKenzie, 30, met ambulance staff Nikki Wilson, Harry Trodden and Sheila Parr.
Ms Maxwell said: “He’s just doing amazing now. He’s just such a character and you would never know the rocky start he has had in life.
“We had to do this. They saved him – this is healing for me.
“What do you say to the people who saved your baby’s life? To just see them, and thank them, is huge. You can tell it’s not just a job for them, it’s their life.”
Ryanair ‘to begin legal action over travel traffic light system’
Ryanair is reportedly preparing to launch legal action with the owner of Manchester, Stansted and East Midlands airports against the Government over its international travel traffic light system.
The risk-based system with red, amber and green ratings for different countries, determines the quarantine and coronavirus testing requirements people face when returning to the UK.
The legal action to be brought by Ryanair and the Manchester Airport Group will call for more transparency over how Whitehall decides which countries qualify for the green list, the BBC said.
An industry body warned on June 9 the “failed and damaging” system for international travel must be abandoned if the UK travel and tourism sector is to be saved from total collapse.
The London-based World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) said the Government must scrap the system, which has “wreaked havoc” among consumers and businesses, in order to save hundreds of thousands of jobs.
Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary has said the “stop, go, stop, go approach to travel is bonkers”.
Officials consider how vaccines could open up summer holidays
Vaccines could play a role in opening up international travel for British holidaymakers, under plans being considered by the Government.
Officials are looking at proposals that could allow Britons who have had both coronavirus vaccine doses to avoid having to quarantine when returning from countries on the amber list, according to reports in the Daily Telegraph.
A Government spokeswoman confirmed that work has begun to “consider the role of vaccinations” for inbound travel following the continued success of the jab’s rollout.
This could mean the return of holidays to popular summer hotspots such as Spain, Portugal, France and Italy, which are all currently on the UK’s amber list.
People arriving from the limited number of holiday destinations on the green list are not required to self-isolate, while amber arrivals must quarantine at home for 10 days.
A Government spokeswoman said: “As set out in the Global Travel Taskforce, we are working with industry for a safe return to international travel, guided by one overwhelming priority, public health.
“Decisions on our traffic light system are kept under constant review, and based on a range of health factors.
“Recognising the strong strategic rationale and success of the vaccine programme, we have commenced work to consider the role of vaccinations in shaping a different set of health and testing measures for inbound travel.”
Covid-19 cases ‘rising exponentially in England among unvaccinated age groups’
Covid-19 cases are “rising exponentially” across England driven by younger and mostly unvaccinated age groups, according to scientists tracking the epidemic.
A study commissioned by the Government found that infections have increased 50% between May 3 and June 7, coinciding with the rise of the Delta coronavirus variant which was first detected in India and is now dominant in the UK.
Data from nearly 110,000 swab tests carried out across England between May 20 and June 7 suggests Covid-19 cases are doubling every 11 days, with the highest prevalence in the North West and 1 in 670 people infected.
The data comes as MPs approved the extension of coronavirus restrictions in England until July 19, although Boris Johnson suffered a major rebellion from members of his own party over the delay.
The Prime Minister was spared a defeat as Labour backed plans for a four-week delay to the end of lockdown measures, aimed at buying more time for the vaccine programme.
MPs voted 461 to 60, a majority of 401, to approve regulations delaying the easing of the measures.