HOLYROOD NOTEBOOK

Will face coverings soon become mandatory in shops and public transport in Scotland?

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon tweeted: “We are considering making it mandatory. However, no need to wait for that – please do it now (unless you have, for example, asthma).”

The UK government later confirmed that passengers on public transport in England would have to use face coverings from 15 June.

Nine more people in Scotland were confirmed to have died with Covid-19 during the last 24 hours, and 1,021 patients are currently in hospital with coronavirus or suspected coronavirus

The rate at which an infected individual is passing the virus to others stands at between 0.7 and 0.9, which is a little below what it was earlier in May

However, the R number estimate does not take into account the easing of lockdown restrictions

With rain and wind forecast for this weekend, the first minister says people should not be tempted “to meet indoors”.

People should stay in their own house and not invite visitors to join them there.

She called on people to focus even more so now on what the Scottish government is asking them not to do.

Ms Sturgeon said: “It is by not doing certain things right now that we will all help stop this virus spreading.”

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Cancer surgery restart framework published

Freeman JeaneThe Scottish government has published a new framework for getting cancer surgery services back up and running.

Health Secretary Jeane Freeman said the focus was on making sure patients across the country get the same level of priority and that people are offered “the earliest possible appointment” for surgery.

This could mean people are given an appointment outside their own health board area, she said.

Cancer charities have welcomed the framework.

Macmillan Cancer Services said it was “vital that cancer does not become the forgotten C as we deal with Covid-19”.

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UK Business Secretary Alok Sharma has received a negative test result for coronavirus, his spokeswoman has said.

Mr Sharma said he would like to offer “huge thanks” to those who have expressed their well wishes over the last 24 hours, as well as the Parliamentary authorities.

He became unwell in the Commons on Wednesday, when he was seen mopping his brow several times while speaking.

He was then tested for the virus and went home to self-isolate.

It has been revealed that UK PM Boris Johnson and Chancellor Rishi Sunak met Business Secretary Alok Sharma a day before Sharma self-isolated with coronavirus symptoms.

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Domestic abuse campaign“Distressing evidence” has led a Holyrood committee to call on the Scottish government to set out the steps it is taking to ensure women and children at increased risk of domestic abuse during lockdown have access to the support services they need to escape violence.

Figures released today by Police Scotland show a 46% fall in reporting of sexual assault and a 27% drop in rape and attempted rape during April’s lockdown.

But Ruth Maguire, convener of the Scottish Parliament’s equalities and human rights committee, said that, while investigating the human rights impact of the pandemic, it heard of “the detrimental impact of the response to this pandemic on vulnerable women across Scotland”.

In a letter to the Minister Christina McKelvie, the committee asked what actions are being taken in response.

It claimed that reduced capacity at refuge accommodation has resulted in fewer families being rehoused, while school closures have left children more exposed to risk of harm and a lack of outreach services.

It has also impacted women from black and minority ethnic communities.

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SNP MP accused of inflaming racial tensions

SNP MP Alison Thewliss was today is critical of the UK government’s policies over a return to work.

A UK government minister has rejected Alison Thewliss’ claim that forcing black people to work is a racist policy and suggested the SNP MP was “inflaming racial tensions”.

Kemi Badenoch, the Tory Equalities Minister, said work was under way to find out why risks were higher for some ethnic groups.

But she also rejected claims that “systemic injustice” is the reason ethnic minorities are more likely to die from Covid-19 in England.

“This is one of the best countries in the world to be a black person,” she told MPs.

Work is also under way to find out why an initial report by Public Health Scotland found no racial disparity in coronavirus deaths in Scotland, she told MPs.

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Denis Coll and grandsons Ryan and Sean from Balloch at Celtic ParkTop-flight football clubs’ first-team squads will be allowed to return to training from 11 June, the Scottish FA has confirmed.

The suspension of football, which has been in place since 13 March, will be lifted next week for Premiership sides.

The Scottish Professional Football League hopes to start a new top-flight season on 1 August.

But lower divisions and leagues wishing to resume must prove they can meet testing and other health measures.

Protocols issued to clubs this week say training must initially be non-contact and in small groups.

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The Scottish government has published for the first time information about the spread of coronavirus in hospitals.

In a written answer to a question at Holyrood, Health Secretary Jeane Freeman confirmed there had been 125 reported incidents “involving Covid-19 cases outside the Covid-19 wards”.

Of these, all but five are “closed”, meaning there is no evidence of continuing transmission.

Ms Freeman said it was possible that some patients had actually contracted the virus outside of hospital but did not start showing symptoms until after they were admitted, and that “reports of incidents have been declining since the beginning of May”.

Scottish Labour said it was “worrying that so many outbreaks of Covid-19 have been taking place in our hospitals” and called for more details.

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Yousaff.jpg 2Justice Secretary @HumzaYousaf has encouraged anyone who is planning to protest with the Black Lives Matter movement against racial injustice to do so in a way that safeguards themselves and the public from #coronavirus.

He said:  “It is not enough to simply not be a racist – we must be anti-racist, by supporting our minority ethnic communities, and condemning racism, hate and injustice wherever we find it.”

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PPE company recruits 75 people

A Greenock company praised today by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon for its response to the spiralling demand for protective equipment because of the Covid-19 crisis has admitted that these “are challenging times”.

BPI sales director Lorcan Mekitarian said: “Back in January, when the supply chains were disrupted in China and factories shut down, we could see there were problems on the horizon.

“We are very experienced in the manufacture of polythene aprons and have done for many years.

“The market became very competitive and it was something we drifted away from, but we could see impending supply chain issues.

“We are making polythene disposable aprons, making between two and three million per week.

“We’ve brought it into a factory that was making general purpose polythene bags, so we’ve had to create a complete new unit within the factory.

“We will have recruited 75 people by the time the project has finished.”

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The travel industry has condemned the UK government’s quarantine rules, warning the mandatory two-week isolation will deter visitors and put jobs at risk.

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