Nicola Sturgeon has provided an update on the Covid situation in Scotland today in Parliament.

As new cases in Scotland remain stubbornly at more than 2,000 per day, ministers have hinted that the vaccine passport scheme could be expanded to more hospitality venues, theatres and cinemas.

Public Health expert and key Covis adviser Professor Devi Sridhar has warned that the situation remains "fragile", and with winter just days away, the Scottish Government is considering what steps may be needed to contain the virus further.

Since restrictions were implemented in the country, the government has worked to three week review points, and today’s update marked one of the weeks where adaptations could be implemented.

Here’s everything that the First Minister said at today’s Covid briefing.

 

Latest figures

Scotland has recorded 17 coronavirus deaths and 2,771 new cases in the past 24 hours, according to the latest data.

It means the death toll under this daily measure – of people who first tested positive for the virus within the previous 28 days – is 9,406.

The daily test positivity rate was 12.8%, up from 12.3% the previous day, figures published by the Scottish Government show.

 

There were 779 people in hospital on Monday with recently confirmed Covid-19, up eight on the day before, with 57 in intensive care, no change.

So far, 4,331,574 people have received their first dose of a Covid-19 vaccination and 3,930,317 have received a second dose.

In general, Covid cases are slightly rising in Scotland and much of this increase has been in people under 20 whereas cases in the over 60s are falling - by 11%.

 

COP26

HeraldScotland:

There is no sign so far that the COP26 climate summit which was held in Glasgow contributed to a rise in cases of Covid-19 in Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon has said.

Over the past two weeks, hundreds of world leaders as well as thousands of delegates and activists descended upon the city.

The First Minister told MSPs on Tuesday: “I can confirm that there is no sign so far of any significant spike in cases associated with Cop.

“Rigorous measures were put in place to minimise the risks of Covid transmission.

“For example anyone entering the main summit site – the Blue Zone – had to provide evidence of a negative lateral flow test result.

“Information published earlier today by Public Health Scotland suggests that of the people officially affiliated with Cop26, approximately four in every 1,000 tested positive for Covid through routine lateral flow testing.”

She added that just 291 people tested positive for Covid-19 following a Cop26-related event, 0.5% of the total number recorded nationally in the past month.

“All of this suggests that the mitigations put in place were effective,” Ms Sturgeon said.

“I want to put on record my thanks to delegates for their compliance and indeed to everyone who worked so hard in the run-up to and during Cop26 to secure the safest possible environment.”

 

Booster vaccinations

HeraldScotland:

More than one million booster doses of the Covid-19 vaccine have been administered in Scotland.

Ms Sturgeon said: “I can confirm that more than one million booster jags have now been administered and over 70% of over-70s have now had a booster.

“We know that a booster jag significantly increases the effectiveness of the vaccine – so this high level of uptake is extremely important, and we will continue to push it up as far as possible.”

An online portal which opened on Monday for other age groups to book booster jags has seen 54,000 people make appointments, the First Minister said.

Yesterday it was confirmed that people aged 40-49 in Scotland would be offered a Covid booster jab, after results found that a third dose significantly improved protection. 

On Monday, the online portal opened for over-50s in Scotland to book their booster jabs, with the first minister confirming over-40s would be invited for their boosters once the top priority groups were vaccinated. 

Booster jabs can only be given 24-weeks or 6 months after receiving the second dose of the Covid jab.

Since the first week in September, more than three million flu and booster jabs have now been administered in Scotland.

 

Vaccine passport expansion

HeraldScotland:

An announcement was expected today on whether Scotland’s vaccine passport scheme would be expanded, however it was announced today that a final decision had not yet been made.

Ms Sturgeon said ministers were mulling the possibility of the scheme covering more settings than just large events and nightclubs.

The inclusion of cinemas, theatres and “some other licensed and hospitality premises” are under active consideration.

A decision, she said, would be made next week and would likely take effect from December 6.

The scheme could also be amended to allow for proof of a negative test to be used instead of the vaccine passport app.

Not expanding Scotland’s vaccine passport scheme would be “irresponsible” if it could help to keep the virus at bay, Nicola Sturgeon has said.

She told MSPs: “I am acutely aware that many businesses want us to remove mitigations – including certification – not extend or tighten them.

“I understand that.

“But all of our decisions are motivated by a desire to get through what will be a challenging winter without having to re-introduce any restrictions on trade.

“We want, if possible, businesses to stay fully open over Christmas and through the winter, while also keeping Covid under control.

“If an expansion of Covid certification can help us do that, it would be irresponsible not to consider it.”

READ THE FULL STORY HERE.

 

Continue to work from home

The First Minister also urged Scots to continue to work from home where practical.

She added that she will ask employers to look again at whether more workers could be supported to work from home, particularly into the winter months.

SAGE has said recently that working from home was the thing that was likely to have the most impact on stopping the spread of Covid this winter. 

The First Minister said that good ventilation is vital to prevent the spread of the virus and that if we are having people visit our homes, we should open a window to let some air flow through the room.

Steps are also being taken to fund ventilation in schools with funding for carbon dioxide monitors.