Summary of today’s Covid briefing

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and her Deputy John Swinney.

  1. New positive cases in the last 24 hours are logged at 1,122; there are 1,052 people in hospital with Covid-19 and 90 of those patients are in ICU. One additional death was registered
  2. The increase in cases is slowing, but there is not yet evidence of decline, says the first minister
  3. Nicola Sturgeon adds that important decisions will be made in the coming days in regard to the new tier system
  4. Students could be told not to go home at Christmas if the spread of coronavirus has not been controlled, but Scottish Liberal Democrat Leader Willie Rennie said:  “I am so pleased that the Scottish Government are, at last, looking at mass asymptomatic testing for students. Students were let down at the start of the last term with the botched return, virus outbreaks and local lockdowns, the Scottish Government cannot afford to do that again.

    “With asymptomatic testing we can hunt down and drive out the virus from campuses.

    “Students will inevitably want to go home for Christmas and their families want to have them. This is going to be a massive movement of people. The government must be prepared.

    “If the government intends to follow a staggered approach to students returning home they must set out a timetable clearly and early. This needs to be a uniform, considered operation to keep students and our communities safe.

    “The Education Secretary says he wants to avoid straining the testing system so he must increase the capacity at pace now.”

    Education Secretary John Swinney says it is a situation the government wants to avoid but it is a “realistic possibility”

  5. Meanwhile, the Bishop of Paisley John Keenan has called for a 24-hour “circuit breaker” to be put in place on Christmas Day.

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