Today, NICOLA Sturgeon will send an urgent Covid 19 announcement to a recalled Holyrood as the army deploys the latest Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine to parts of the UK to aid mass distribution.
After expressing “very serious concerns” about the growing rate of infections caused by the variant coronavirus, the First Minister will chair an emergency meeting of the Scottish Cabinet to take even stronger steps before addressing MPs this afternoon.
There has been a rise of 2,464 new Covid 19 cases in Scotland over the last 24 hours, more than Saturday’s 2,137 additional cases. The rate of positivity in the daily test is now 15.2%, up from 10.8% on Saturday.
Across the United Kingdom, the number of new infections was 54,990, the number surpassed 50,000 on the sixth consecutive day, and 454 additional deaths were reported, taking the United Kingdom Up to more than 75,000 in total. As registry offices are closed for the holiday, no further deaths were reported in Scotland on Sunday.
The chance that the return of Scottish schools, scheduled for Jan. 18, would be delayed until the end of the month, may be among the toughest anti-Covid initiatives.
A somber-looking Boris Johnson spoke yesterday to warn the people of England that he was “totally reconciled” with a possible tightening south of the border of anti-Covid steps. When the British government was entangled in a controversy about when schools could reopen there, he did so.
Sir Keir Starmer of Labour accused the prime minister of presiding over a “mess,” insisted that the virus was now “out of control” and within 24 hours called for a fresh national shutdown. “Do it now,” he declared.
Earlier, on Twitter, Ms. Sturgeon revealed she was demanding the Scottish Parliament’s recall from its Christmas recess to address the serious situation.
“She said, “The rapid increase in cases involving Covid, powered by the latest version, is very troubling.
The sharp rise and the extreme strain in other areas of the UK that the NHS is facing is a warning of what may be to come. This is why, while vaccination goes on, we need to take every step to delay the spread.
“We, like other countries, are in a race between this faster-spreading Covid strain and the vaccination program. While we’re working to vaccinate as quickly as possible, we also need to do more to slow down the virus – to save lives and help the NHS care for all those who need it.”
She added, “All the decisions right now are difficult, with tough consequences. Vaccines give us a way out, but since the pandemic started, this new strain makes the time until then the most dangerous.”
“So the government’s responsibility must be to act quickly and decisively in the national interest.”
The Prime Minister again urged the public to “real threat to life and health” adding that the virus posed a “stay at home as much as possible and avoid non-essential interactions with other households.” and, if left unchecked, would also affect the economy.
Johnson, speaking on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show, pointed out that for areas of England, most of which is already at the highest level 4, tougher steps were under way.
He said, “In the next few weeks, we may have to do things that are going to be tougher in many parts of the country; I am fully on board with that.” Obviously, there are a range of harder steps that we will have to take.
“I’m not going to speculate now on what they’re going to be, but I’m sure all of our viewers and listeners will understand what the kinds of things … clearly, school closures that we had to do in March is one of those things.”
The prime minister welcomed the prospect of vaccines being carried out “in tens of millions, and that’s something that should keep people going at a time that I predicted in your broadcast in October, which is now going to be a very bumpy time. It is bumpy and it will be bumpy,”
But Sir Keir has been scathing about what he sees as the timid response of the Conservative government.
We can’t let the prime minister take advantage of the next two or three weeks and then implement an imminent national lockdown. Do it now. That’s the first step needed to get the virus back under controversy.