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Scotland, UK: Latest updates on Coronavirus

Last Update April 5 at 18:53 p.m. BST

The Scottish Government has announced that a total of 23,143 of the country’s citizens have been tested for coronavirus (COVID-19). The statement, released on April 5, has uncovered that 3,706 have come back positive, while 218 have died from the virus. 

Data from geographic information system ArcGIS states that the U.K.’s countries of Scotland, England, Northern Ireland and Wales have amassed 47,806 cases of infection and, as of April 5, 4,934 deaths have been recorded across Britain. 

The country’s lawmakers are looking to pass an emergency coronavirus bill, designed to give Scotland increased powers in protecting its 5.47 million citizens from COVID-19. Although many new regulations and laws passed by Members of Parliament in London are in force in the country, areas in which the government has devolved power require new Scotland-specific laws. This includes the courts, businesses and housing regulations.

The Scottish Government admits that there will need to be a “significant adjustment” to the operation of public services and businesses. To keep Scottish courts running and dealing with serious criminal trials, everyone from judges, solicitors and lawyers, the accused, witnesses and juries will be able to appear via video link.

The bill also gives renters of homes greater protection from eviction during the pandemic lockdown, with a new minimum notice period that landlords can give tenants of six months.

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The Scottish Government sat for one day to pass the new bill at Holyrood in the Scottish city of Edinburgh, with extended voting times to allow lawmakers to practice social distancing while passing their votes. 

After the bill has passed, Holyrood will be closed for several weeks to allow the pandemic to pass. The new legislation has a six-month limitation, after which politicians would need to vote to continue the new laws for another six months if necessary.

To assist Britain’s National Health Service (NHS) in treating people hospitalized by COVID-19, a new medical facility, NHS Louisa Jordan — named after a First World War nurse — has opened in Glasgow. It has initial capacity for 300 coronavirus patients, with the option to expand to accommodate more than 1,000 people. The facility mirrors the new NHS Nightingale, a huge coronavirus-dedicated temporary hospital in the ExCel conference center in London.

As previously reported by Live Science, researchers at the University of Oxford’s Jenner Institute and Vaccine Group have begun recruiting 510 healthy 18-55 volunteers in an effort to locate a vaccine for COVID-19. A vaccine won’t be ready for several weeks, the researchers said.

In a statement from Scottish Health Secretary Jeane Freeman on April 1, Freeman said that she hoped that NHS Louisa Jordan would not have to be used, but that “we must prepare for every eventuality. The public’s contributed efforts to stay at home, in addition to the other measures implemented and the steps we are already taking to increase capacity within existing hospitals are all aimed at making sure NHS Scotland can cope with the expected surge in patients. NHS Louisa Jordan will ensure there is even further capacity if needed,” Freeman said.  

The Scottish First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, has asked for citizens to comply with the current lockdown in force across Britain. In a statement to her fellow Members of Scottish Parliament, she said: “[the country’s] current modeling of the spread of the virus — which I must stress assumes continued high compliance with the lockdown measures — together with the steps we are taking to increase [Intensive Care Unit (ICU)] capacity, suggests our ICUs are in a much stronger position to cope with the expected peak of the epidemic.”

National Health Service (NHS) COVID-19 hotline: 111

Health advice (free helpline): 0800 028 2816

For life-threatening emergencies: 999

Cases by health board:

  • Ayrshire and Arran: 267
  • Borders: 130
  • Dumfries and Galloway: 141
  • Fife: 200
  • Forth Valley: 226
  • Grampian: 194
  • Greater Glasgow and Clyde: 931
  • Highland: 99
  • Lanarkshire: 478
  • Lothian: 534
  • Orkney: 4
  • Shetland: 41
  • Tayside: 457
  • Eileanan Siar (Western Isles): 4 

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  • Posted on April 5, 2020