Skip to content Skip to left sidebar Skip to right sidebar Skip to footer

COVID-19

Back to school

Back to school, from 22 February

Back to school – Phased return for some pupils.

Children back to school in early learning and childcare and in primaries 1-3 are now scheduled to make a full return to nurseries and schools from 22 February.

In addition, very limited numbers of pupils in S4-6 will also be able to complete in-school practical work that is essential for completing national qualifications on a part-time basis from the same date

Some children and young people with significant additional support needs will also be prioritised for a return to in-person provision, for those most urgently in need of support.

All other pupils back to school, with the exception of vulnerable children and those of key workers, will continue with remote learning.

To complement the return to in-school teaching, there will be a significant expansion of testing. People who work in schools, early learning and childcare settings attached to schools, and senior phase pupils, will be offered at-home testing two times a week.

When back to school: two metre physical distancing for adults and pupils will be required in secondary schools in the period immediately after a return.

Where required, updated guidance (and associated mitigations) will be published for all relevant settings that allows for the current circumstances and latest scientific advice. All these measures will be kept under regular review.

These decisions will be confirmed on Tuesday 16 February – providing sufficient progress in tackling the virus has been made.

Deputy First Minister John Swinney said:

“I appreciate only too well the burden being placed on many families as they navigate this COVID pandemic. I am also acutely aware of the need to maintain teaching and learning wherever possible. In doing so, the health and wellbeing of our children, young people and staff is paramount.

“My priority has been to ensure a safe return for children and young people to school and nursery as quickly as possible. That is why the steps that have been announced today are guided by the advice of the Chief Medical Officer and public health experts. Children and young people will begin a gradual, phased return to classrooms supported by a testing regime and enhanced guidance. A sense of caution underpins the plans unveiled today, but this is essential as we work to return to full time teaching in schools.”

The schedule, subject to confirmation on 16 February, is:

February 22 – Full time return for pre-school children in early learning and childcare settings and children in P1-3.

February 22 – Part time return for senior phase pupils – S4, S5 and S6 – on a limited basis, for essential in-school practical work only. It is intended that there will be no more than 5 – 8% of a secondary school roll physically present at any one time for these purposes.

February 22 – Small increase for additional support needs where there is a demonstrable and immediate need.

All other primary and secondary pupils will continue to use remote learning until at least the beginning of March except in the case of vulnerable children and those of key workers. We will review this position every two weeks.

School age childcare services will also remain open only to vulnerable children and those of key workers pending further scientific advice.

All children who are eligible for free school meals will continue to receive them during this period.

Scotland lockdown

Scotland lockdown, remain until at least the 28th of February.

Scotland lockdown will be extended until at least the end of February, Nicola Sturgeon has announced.

Scotland Lockdown: The First Minister says case numbers have “stabilised”, but relaxing the rules could “quickly send the situation into reverse”.

The first minister said that despite COVID-19 case numbers having “stabilised and even declined”, any relaxation of the rules while infection rates remain high could “quickly send the situation into reverse”.

A series of new measures aimed at driving down coronavirus (COVID-19) rates in Scotland have been announced.

Current restrictions, including the ‘stay-at-home’ requirement, are set to remain in place until at least the end of February and schools will continue to be closed to most children for the rest of this month.  

Nurseries and Primaries 1 to 3 are, however, now scheduled to return full-time on 22 February, subject to final confirmation two weeks from now that sufficient progress in tackling the virus has been achieved.  

In an update to Parliament the First Minister confirmed that a managed quarantine system for anyone who arrives directly into Scotland regardless of which country they have come from will be introduced as soon as practicably possible.

In addition to guarding against the increased importation of new cases, access to testing to find cases and interrupt transmission already taking place in Scotland will be stepped up:   

  • from the middle of February, routine testing of healthcare workers will be expanded to cover patient-facing primary care workers such as GPs, dentists, optometrists and pharmacists, as will testing for all patient-facing staff who work in hospices
  • from later this month, regular testing will be offered to support the return to schools and nurseries. Senior phase secondary school students, and all staff in primary, secondary and special schools, including school-based ELC staff, will be able to benefit from routine at-home testing two times a week
  • certain workplaces where the risk of transmission is greater and which provide essential or critical services, such as those within the food processing and distribution sectors and staff within emergency service control rooms, will also be supported to introduce routine workforce testing
  • targeted community testing will continue to be expanded – so that testing is available to people locally, regardless of whether or not they have symptoms
  • from mid-February tests will also be offered to all close contacts of people who have tested positive for COVID-enabling Test and Protect teams to identify their contacts and track, and break further, chains of transmission

In order to promote people’s ability to self-isolate when necessary, financial support will be significantly expanded to include all workers earning the Real Living Wage or less, as well as those in receipt of a council tax reduction because of low income. The £500 Self-Isolation Support Grant will also be extended to people who cannot work because someone they have caring responsibilities for is asked to self-isolate. 

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said:

“As levels of the virus continue to fall in Scotland, it becomes ever more important that we stop the virus from being imported again. The threat of new variants is real and we must be ever-more vigilant.

“That is why we intend to introduce a managed quarantine requirement for anyone who arrives directly into Scotland, regardless of which country they have come from.

We want to work with the UK Government to avoid travellers sidestepping restrictions and arriving in other parts of the UK before travelling to Scotland, however the most effective approach to prevent this and to stop new variants being imported is for the UK Government to introduce a compulsory quarantine for anyone travelling into the UK from overseas.

“Since we still have work to do these measures will not be introduced this week and more detail will follow shortly.

“We believe that targeted community testing can play a particularly valuable role in communities where prevalence is starting to rise rapidly which is why we have expanded our testing programme to identify cases and break chains of transmission.

“Lockdown is starting to slow down the virus. But we also need to pick up the pace in our vaccination programme. We are doing that and will accelerate the programme further over the next fortnight – providing that we have sufficient supplies of the vaccine – as we work towards being able to vaccinate 400,000 people a week by the end of the month. We are making rapid progress in protecting those who are most at risk from COVID-19.”

On schooling, the First Minister added:

“I am acutely aware of the pressure school closures is putting on working parents and on family life more generally.

“Our room for manoeuvre, given the current state of the pandemic, is limited. But the government is determined to use every inch of headroom we have to get children back to school.

“Based on the advice of our expert advisers, if we all agree to abide with the lockdown restrictions for a bit longer so that our progress in suppressing the virus continues, we can begin a phased, albeit gradual, return to school from 22 February.”

Scottish vaccination

Scottish vaccination programme moves to next stage

Scottish vaccination centres to open for mass in Edinburgh and Aberdeen.

People aged 70 and over will get Coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccines in a range of settings, from community centres to mass vaccination centres, from Monday 1 February as the vaccination programme moves to the next stage.

Those aged 70-79 and the clinically extremely vulnerable – including over-16s on the shielding list – started receiving their invitations on Monday 25 January and subject to supplies, will have received their first dose by mid-February.  

Mass vaccination centres, including Edinburgh International Conference Centre (EICC) and Aberdeen’s P&J LIVE at TECA, will be in operation from Monday 1 February for members of the public with appointments. NHS staff at these centres have been vaccinating each other this week as part of their induction. The EICC will have capacity to vaccinate more than 21,000 people a week at 45 stations. The centre in Aberdeen will start with 20 booths, vaccinating around 6000 people weekly. The Louisa Jordan mass vaccination centre in Glasgow has been operating since 8 December, carrying out 1,000 – 5,000 vaccinations daily. The facility has the capacity to move to 10,000 per day.

The scale of the operations at the mass vaccination centres means letters will also start going out next week in Lothian, Grampian and Greater Glasgow and Clyde to those aged between 65 and 69 – the next group on the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation priority list.

Other smaller vaccination centres, located in community facilities such as village halls and sports centres, are also opening as the roll-out continues across the country.

The programme for first doses for care home residents, frontline health and social care workers and those aged 80 and over will be completed by 5 February.

Health Secretary Jeane Freeman said:

“Our vaccination roll-out continues to ramp up as we widen it to groups further down the JCVI priority list and I would like to thank all those involved in setting up the mass vaccination centres in Edinburgh and Aberdeen and, of course, the NHS Lothian and NHS Grampian staff who will be delivering the vaccines.

“It is testament to all those working hard to roll-out the vaccination programme that major logistical operations such as these are up and running despite the current restrictions.  

“I would urge everyone to take up their appointment when they are offered one. The vaccination programme is one of three key ways we are working to beat this virus, along with our expanded testing programme to identify cases and break chains of transmission and the important lockdown restrictions everyone in Scotland must follow. All these measures work to greatest effect when they work together.”

new funds to support businesses

Three new funds to support businesses uniquely affected by the COVID-19.

New funds to support businesses uniquely affected by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic will launch this week.

From today, local authorities will start to approach brewers, travel agents and indoor football centres inviting them to claim grants of £10,000 or £25,000. A higher payment of £30,000 will be available to the largest brewers.

Councils will brief around 400 eligible businesses on their potential entitlement and ask them to provide supporting information and bank account details. Owners do not need to apply, or contact the local authority.

Finance Secretary Kate Forbes said:

“We started 2021 in a way none of us envisaged nor wanted, with additional measures in place to limit the spread of the new strain of COVID-19, protect our NHS and save lives.

“These funds recognise the unprecedented challenges that brewers, travel agents and indoor football centres have experienced since March as a result of necessary restrictions.

“We are acutely aware that this support can never compensate for the full impact on business, but we must work within the resources that are available to us, and we continue to respond to the evolving economic challenges arising from the pandemic.”

The Scottish Government has allocated £3 billion in business support since the start of the pandemic on top of support available through the UK Government.

Grants available:

• £10,000 for premises which have a rateable value of up to and including £18,000
• £25,000 for premises which have a rateable value of £18,001 or above
• £30,000 for brewers only operating a property with a rateable value of over £51,000 or production over 5,000HL in 2019

More information on the Brewers Support Fund

More information on Support for Travel Agents

More information on Support for Indoor Football Centres

New vaccination campaign

New Scottish Vaccination information campaign

New Scottish vaccination campaign urges people to ‘roll their sleeves up’.

A new campaign encouraging people to get vaccinated for COVID-19 as soon as they are eligible launches today.

The ‘Roll your sleeves up’ campaign will emphasise the importance of the vaccine and its safety, as well as the prioritisation list set out by Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) to ensure those most at risk are vaccinated first.

Vaccination will be offered to 4.5 million people in Scotland and is currently underway for residents of care homes for older people and their carers, frontline health and social care workers, and those aged 80 years and over. Local delivery is being led by NHS boards, who will contact those eligible to arrange their vaccination.

Those aged 70 and over and the clinically extremely vulnerable, including those on the shielding list will receive their first vaccine dose by mid-February, those aged over 65 will receive their first doses by the beginning of March, and vaccination of the wider adult population will commence once the remainder of the JCVI priority groups are complete by early May.

Health Secretary Jeane Freeman said:

“Vaccination offers us greater protection against COVID-19 and it offers us hope that this year will be a brighter one. It is another vital tool in our work to suppress the virus, but other measures including testing, and lockdown restrictions remain absolutely essential to suppress COVID to the lowest possible level in Scotland.

“These three critical actions will help us protect the NHS and save lives, towards a brighter year ahead. However, we don’t yet know how well vaccination stops people transmitting the virus to others – which is why it’s essential people protect the progress we’ve made, and continue to follow the restrictions currently in place, whether they have been vaccinated or not, while vaccine delivery is rolled out across the country.”

Interim Deputy Chief Medical Officer Dr Dave Caesar said:

“No matter which vaccine you receive, each has passed a rigorous three-phase testing process, reviewed by independent regulatory and advisory bodies to ensure it is safe and effective.  Your local NHS health board will be in touch with you to arrange your vaccination appointment when you are eligible, and I encourage everyone to get vaccinated as soon as they are eligible to do so.

“However, vaccination on its own it won’t be enough to win the race against this virus.  Each one of us needs to do all we can – following the guidance, abiding closely to the restrictions, washing our hands, wearing face coverings, maintaining 2m distance from each other – everything we can to slow down the spread of the virus and suppress its prevalence as low as we can, so that increasing vaccination can do the job we need it to do.  Doing all of that will help you protect yourself, protect the NHS and save lives.”     

For more information visit nhsinform.scot/rollupyoursleeves or call 0800 030 8013.

The ‘Roll your sleeves up’ campaign will run from 21 January to the end of March 2021 on TV, radio, press, outdoor and digital channels.

As of 21 January:

  • 1,100 vaccination sites are operational across Scotland, including over 750 GP practices with a growing core of over 3,000 trained vaccinators.
  • Over 90% of residents in care homes for older adults, 70% of staff in those care homes and around half of frontline NHS and social care staff have received their first dose.

Support for taxi and private hire drivers

Support for taxi and private hire drivers

New fund to support for taxi and private hire drivers affected by the pandemic will launch this week.

New fund to support taxi, Local authorities will directly approach an estimated 38,000 private hire and taxi drivers inviting them to claim a £1,500 grant to assist with fixed costs, boosting the support from other funding for loss of income available through the Scottish and UK Governments.

A new total of £57 million has been allocated by the Scottish Government – three times more than the allocation announced in December.

Councils will start contacting eligible drivers this week to brief them on their potential entitlement and ask them to provide supporting information and bank account details. They do not need to apply, or contact the local authority.

Support for taxi and private hire drivers

Finance Secretary Kate Forbes said:

“We know how difficult this pandemic has been for taxi drivers and their families. They’ve truly gone the extra mile, continuing to provide a vital service for key workers and vulnerable individuals throughout the lockdown and beyond.

“Following the introduction of tighter regulations at Christmas I have trebled the budget originally announced for this fund to £57 million, enough to provide grants of £1,500 to all of Scotland’s 38,000 taxi and private hire drivers.

“It will help to support the taxi trade by augmenting existing support and assisting drivers in meeting fixed costs including licence plate fees, rental fees and insurance payments for taxis not on the road.”

More details and full eligibility criteria Coronavirus (COVID-19): Taxi and Private Hire Driver Support Fund

Support for taxi and private hire drivers

______

Follow Peterhead.Live on Facebook for get more actual information

Scotland lockdown

Strengthening Scotland lockdown restrictions

Scotland lockdown, measures to maximise the impact.

Further measures to help stop the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) and limit non-essential contact will be introduced this weekend.

Nobody who lives in a Level 4 area should leave or remain outside their home except for essential purposes.

Working from home arrangements will be strengthened through updated statutory guidance. Working from home should now be the default position for all businesses and services, and only those who cannot do their job from home should be asked to go to the workplace. 

Scotland lockdown From Saturday non-essential click and collect retail services will be prohibited in Level 4 areas and further changes will be put in place to how services open for essential purposes operate. Timeslots will be required for collection and people should not enter a store to collect an item. Businesses providing takeaway food will also operate on a ‘non-entry’ basis only, meaning customers cannot enter the premises when placing or collecting orders.

Restrictions banning the consumption of alcohol in public places will also be introduced.

In a statement to Parliament, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said:

“The situation we face in relation to the virus remains extremely serious.

“We must continue to do everything possible to reduce case numbers – this is essential to relieve the pressure on our NHS and to save lives.

“Both individually and collectively, these additional measures – in further reducing the interactions that allow the virus to spread – will help our essential efforts to suppress it.

“At this critical and dangerous moment, please: Stay Home. Protect the NHS. Save lives.”

stay at home

Stay at Home Guidance

Stay at Home Guidance on new stay at home regulations coming into effect on 5 January 2021.

To minimise the risk of spreading the virus, you must stay at home as much as possible.  By law, in a level 4 area, you can only leave your home (or garden) for an essential purpose.

There is a list of examples of reasonable excuses below.  Although you can leave home for these purposes, you should stay as close to home as possible. 

Shop on-line or use local shops and services wherever you can.   

Travel no further than you need to reach to a safe, non-crowded place to exercise in a socially distanced way.  To minimise the risk of spread of Coronavirus it is crucial that we all avoid unnecessary travel.

Examples of reasonable excuses to go out: 

  • for work or an activity associated with seeking employment, or to provide voluntary or charitable services, but only where that cannot be done from your home.
  • for education including, school, college, university or other essential purposes connected with a course of study.
  • for essential shopping, including essential shopping for a vulnerable person. You should use online shopping or shops and other services in your immediate area wherever you can. 
  • to obtain or deposit money, where it is not possible to do so from home.
  • for healthcare, including COVID-19 testing and vaccination.
  • for childcare or support services for parents or expectant parents.
  • for essential services, including services of a charitable or voluntary nature such as food banks, alcohol or drug support services.
  • to access public services where it is not possible to do so, including from home:
    • services provided to victims (such as victims of crime),
    • social-care services,
    • accessing day care centres,
    • services provided by the Department for Work and Pensions,
    • services provided to victims (including victims of crime),
    • asylum and immigration services and interviews,
    • waste or recycling services,
  • to provide care, assistance, support to or respite for a vulnerable person
  • to provide or receive emergency assistance.
  • to participate in or facilitate shared parenting.
  • to visit a person in an extended household.
  • to meet a legal obligation including satisfying bail conditions, to participate in legal proceedings, to comply with a court mandate in terms of sentence imposed or to register a birth.
  • for attendanceat court including a remote jury centre, an inquiry, a children’s hearing, tribunal proceedings or to resolve a dispute via Alternative Dispute Resolution.
  • for essential animal welfare reasons, such as exercising or feeding a horse or going to a vet.
  • local outdoor recreation, sport or exercise, walking, cycling, golf, or running that starts and finishes at the same place (which can be up to 5 miles from the boundary of your local authority area) as long as you abide by the rules on meeting other households
  • to attend a marriage ceremony or registration of a civil partnership.
  • to attend a funeral or for compassionate reasons which relate to the end of a person’s life. This includes gatherings related to the scattering or interring of ashes, a stone setting ceremony and other similar commemorative events.   
  • if you are a minister of religion or worship leader, for the purposes of leading an act of worship (broadcast or online), conducting a marriage or civil partnership ceremony or a funeral.
  • to donate blood.
  • for activities in connection with moving home (including viewing a property), or for activities in connection with the maintenance, purchase, sale, letting, or rental of residential property that the person owns or is otherwise responsible for.  Travelling for the purposes of undertaking essential work on a property other than your main residence should not be used as a pretext for a holiday.  You should not stay longer than for the length of time required to undertake the necessary work.
  • to avoid injury, illness or to escape a risk of harm.
  • for those involved in professional sports, for training, coaching or competing in an event.
  • to visit a person receiving treatment in a hospital, staying in a hospice or care home, or to accompany a person to a medical appointment.
  • to register or vote in a Scottish or UK Parliament, Local Government or overseas election or by-election, including on behalf of someone else by proxy
  • to visit a person detained in prison, young offenders institute, remand centre, secure accommodation or other place of detention.

Full Guidance Coronavirus (COVID-19): stay at home

Mainland Scotland

Mainland Scotland is move to 2 lockdown.

Mainland Scotland is to go to Second lockdown from midnight tonight with a new legal requirement forbidding anyone from leaving their home except for essential purposes.

Amongst the limited reasonable excuses to leave your home are provisions for caring, outdoor exercise and to go to work, but only if that work cannot be done from home.  

In a statement to Parliament, the First Minister said a steep increase in coronavirus (COVID-19) infections and the intensity of pressure on the NHS have created a race between the virus and the vaccines now coming online.

As a result, she said it was now imperative that everyone should comply with the message to “Stay at Home” for the duration of January.

The First Minister said:

“We are now seeing a steeply rising trend of infections. Indeed, it is no exaggeration to say that I am more concerned about the situation we face now than I have been at any time since March last year.

“As a government our clear duty right now is to act quickly and decisively to safeguard health, save lives and protect the NHS.

“The advice of our clinical advisers is very clear that the increased transmissibility of the new variant means that the current level 4 measures may not be sufficient to bring the R number back below 1.

“It is essential that we further limit interaction between different households to stem the spread and bring the situation back under control, while we vaccinate more people.

“In short, we must return for a period to a situation much closer to the lockdown of last March.”

In the week from 23 to 30 December the seven day incidence of cases per 100,000 of the population increased by 65% – from 136 to 225.

Mainland Scotland the new measures will make it a legal requirement to stay at home unless there is a reasonable excuse for leaving such as essential shopping, education, childcare or to support the vulnerable. Everyone must now work from home where they can.

Mainland Scotland other key changes include:

  • changing the 6/2 rule to a 2/2 rule. From tomorrow, a maximum of two people from up to two households will be able to meet outdoors. Children aged 11 and under will not be counted in that limit
  • for everyone else – including 12 to 17 year olds – outdoor exercise or recreation should only take place in a way which is consistent with the 2/2 rule
  • under 12s will not count towards the 2/2 rule and will continue to be able to participate in organised activities outdoors
  • all schools to continue to use remote learning until the end of January, except in the case of vulnerable children and those of key workers
  • stronger guidance on working from home is reflected in new guidance for people who are shielding. Those who are shielding and who cannot work from home are now advised not to work. The Chief Medical Officer is writing to everyone who falls into this category

The First Minister also told parliament that from Friday, 8 January a number of other measures will be taken including:

  • closing places of worship. Since stay-at-home rules do not allow leaving the home to attend a place of worship for a service or for private prayer, these would be closed for all purposes other than broadcasting a service, or conducting a funeral, marriage or civil partnership ceremony
  • reducing numbers allowed at a wedding ceremony or civil partnership registration to the legal minimum, i.e. 5 plus the possibility of an interpreter
  • prohibiting wakes and post-funeral gatherings, so that only funerals and any associated ceremonies (stone settings, ash scatterings, etc.) can take place
  • closing some additional premises, service providers and retailers. This would include showroom elements of larger retailers and ski centres
  • ending the 1m physical distancing exemption for workplace canteens

Mainland Scotland the restrictions are expected to be in place for at least four weeks, but will be kept under review.