The R value has fallen to between 0.8-1 across the UK, Sage says
Nicola Sturgeon also addressed the story on the front page of the Daily Record this morning, which reported that painters carried out work last week at her official residence Bute House despite the ban on non-essential building work by her own government.
Sturgeon clarified that she had not stayed at the residence since before the first lockdown, when she decided to minimise her own contacts and exposure of staff by remaining in her private home.
She said that the work was “essential safety work” to pin part of a ceiling and that no painting was done.
Just to be very clear, the rules that we living under right now apply to me and government ministers, just as much as they do to everyone else…I know people get really angry if they do get the suggestion that I get special dispensation. I don’t and nor should I have.
The number of Covid cases is falling across Wales but the Welsh first minister, Mark Drakeford, has said there is still only “marginal headroom at best” to begin lifting lockdown restrictions when they are reviewed next week.
But he revealed he had asked the chief medical officer, Dr Frank Atherton, if there was “any prospect” of more children returning to school in the week before half term. He has not had the reply yet.
Drakeford said the seven-day case rate for Wales has dropped to around 270 cases per 100,000 people compared with more than 650 before Christmas. The first minister also said the number of people being admitted to hospital was stabilising.
He said the Welsh government is on target “to hit our first milestone” of offering vaccination to its first four priority groups by mid-February.”
Drakeford was challenged about his government’s promise that 70% of over-80s would be vaccinated by Sunday.
Figures released by Public Health Wales on Friday said 30.2% of those aged over 80 have received their first dose – but advised this was a snapshot and the real figures will be higher.
The first minister said the government hoped to vaccinate 70% of over-80s by the end of Sunday but suggested the official figures on Monday would not support this because there is a lag in the statistics.
Announcing 1,480 new cases of coronavirus at her daily briefing, Scotland’s first minister Nicola Sturgeon said that there were some grounds for optimism, noting it is “the first day in a long time that test positivity has been under 7%”.
Asked about UK government plans to give the £500 self-isolation grant to all, reported in the Guardian yesterday, she said she would “welcome it” and that her government is continually looking at what it can do to support people with self-isolation.
Following the cancellation of Glastonbury for another year yesterday, Sturgeon said that people had to be “realistic and pragmatic” – “it’s going to be a bit longer before big-scale events become possible again”, adding that she can’t say with any certainty if that will be by the summer.
Coastguard teams are undertaking a relay journey of 140 miles, including two ferry crossings, to transfer Covid test samples from Barra for processing as the outbreak on the island continues, with 47 positive cases and a fourth person airlifted to hospital.
The transfer will continue every weekend until the outbreak is deemed under control by NHS Western Isles, to ensure completed tests can be processed quickly.
Rescue teams will carry tests from Barra to the island’s ferry, then another team will transport tests by road to the Berneray ferry terminal, and the final part of the journey is completed by either Harris or Stornoway coastguards as they collect samples from the ferry in Leverburgh and carry out the final road transfer to Western Isles Hospital, Stornoway, for processing.
Around 1 in 35 people in London had Covid last week, ONS estimates