Live: Coronavirus news updates from across Scotland

The country is on lockdown in an effort to stop the spread of the deadly virus.

Coronavirus: The fight goes on to stop the spread of the deadly virus. Pixabay
Coronavirus: The fight goes on to stop the spread of the deadly virus.

7.33pm – Health board suspends visiting to all but some ‘essential visitors’

NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde is to suspend visiting at all hospitals to protect patients and staff from coronavirus, effective immediately.

The health board has issued some exempt “essential visitors” but said only one person can attend at any given time and no children are permitted to visit.

Angela O’Neill, deputy nurse director, said: “We understand this will be difficult – visitors are normally warmly welcomed into our hospitals but our main priority now is to keep everyone safe.

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“We want to thank everyone for their understanding and co-operation.

“Essential visitors, like birthing partners, parents of children and those visiting a family member receiving end of life care, will continue to be allowed, however only one visitor at any given time.

“If you are in the essential group of visitors, please speak to the nurse in charge to arrange.”

6.03pm – Senior Scots diplomat in Hungary dies of coronavirus

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A Scots diplomat has died at the age of 37 after contracting coronavirus.

Steven Dick, the deputy head of mission at the British Embassy Hungary, died on Tuesday.

A statement from his parents, Steven and Carol Dick, said: “Steven was a much-loved son, grandson and nephew. He was kind, funny and generous.

“It was always his dream to work for the Foreign Office and he was very happy representing our country overseas.

“We are devastated by his loss & ask for privacy at this tragic time.”

5.25pm – Coronavirus ‘antibody test’ to be ready ‘within days’

The public will be able to conduct coronavirus antibody tests at home within a matter of days, MPs have heard.

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Professor Sharon Peacock, director of the National Infection Service, Public Health England told Westminster’s science and technology committee 3.5 million tests had been bought and would be available in the “near future”.

5.08pm – Giving blood is an essential activity

Giving blood is an essential activity, with people urged to continue to donate to make sure hospitals are well stocked.

Sessions are going ahead during the coronavirus pandemic and the Scottish National Blood Transfusion Service will advise if this changes.

4.25pm – Teacher lends a hand in protective gear production

A teacher in the Highlands has been using his 3D printer to create face visors for medical staff who need protective gear in the fight against coronavirus.

Stephen Stewart, of Lochaber High School, received a call from Belford Hospital and after testing a few prototypes, he will also be producing visors for the NHS.

4.05pm – Orthotic technicians to produce face visors

A technique has been developed by hospital technicians in Glasgow, helping them to produce more than 100 face visors an hour.

Staff at the orthotic department at the Royal Hospital for Children in Glasgow have turned to making the visors to boost supplies and plan to pass their design to hospitals across the country.

They are now appealing for material to make the protective equipment.

Anyone who can help with supplying 0.2-0.5mm acetate sheets is asked to contact orthotic lead Melville Dixon at melville.dixon@ggc.scot.nhs.uk

3.47pm – Football chairman offers free hotel rooms to NHS workers

Peterhead chairman Rodger Morrison is offering free accommodation at his county inn to NHS staff travelling to and from Aberdeen’s main hospital.

The Cock and Bull in Balmedie has five bed and breakfast rooms which have been opened up to those travelling to work at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary during the coronavirus pandemic.

3.33pm – Bus operators to receive funding regardless of numbers

The Scottish Government has pledged to pay bus companies the amount of funding projected in this year’s budget regardless of the number of passengers who use services.

The cash pledge, announced by the First Minister at a briefing on coronavirus in Edinburgh, is intended to help support companies during the outbreak.

Under the current agreement, Transport Scotland reimburses bus firms for travel under the concessionary scheme for over-60s and disabled people.

Nicola Sturgeon announced this year’s funding will not be based on the actual amount of travel but projections made at the beginning of the year.

2.57pm – Young Brit dies after Covid-19 diagnosis

A 21-year-old woman has died after contracting coronavirus in the United Kingdom.

Chloe Middleton, from Buckinghamshire, is believed to have had no pre-existing health conditions.

Her mum Diane said on Facebook: “To all the people out there that thinks it’s just a virus please think again speaking from a personal experience this so called virus has taken the life of my 21 year old daughter”.

2.35pm – Confirmed cases in Scotland exceeds 700

There are now 719 confirmed cases of the virus in Scotland – a rise of 135 in the last 24 hours.

It’s the biggest daily rise in cases in the country since the outbreak began, an increase of around a quarter (23%) on the 584 patients reported on Tuesday.

12.45pm: Patient deaths in Scotland rise by six to 22

The Scottish Government is setting up its own expert advisory group to help in the Covid-19 battle, Nicola Sturgeon has confirmed.

Scotland’s First Minister announced the move as she revealed the number of coronavirus deaths in the country has risen to 22.

That is up by six from Tuesday’s total of 16, the First Minister said, adding a further 51 people are in intensive care suffering from Covid-19 or with symptoms of the virus.

12pm: Coronavirus funding in Scotland tops £2bn

Scottish secretary Alister Jack told MPs additional coronavirus funding for Scotland now totals £2.7bn.

11.53am: Record numbers flock to NHS 24

NHS 24 this week recorded one of the busiest days since the service was set up in 2002.

There were almost 19,000 calls to the 111 service and the coronavirus helpline on Monday, on a day when the 111 service would normally see around 3200 calls. This included almost 12,000 calls to 111 and a further 7000 to the dedicated helpline.

The NHS inform website, which is hosting the national information service for Covid-19 information, registered more than 182,200 visits with more than 44,000 people accessing the coronavirus self help guide on the site. 

On Tuesday, there were more than 8500 calls to 111, with almost 4000 calls to the helpline. NHS inform saw just over 202,000 visits with the self help guide accessed more than 55,000 times.

In response to the very high demand for its services, staff from across the national health board have been volunteering to be retrained so they can support the helplines. 

In addition to staff being asked to step into other roles, temporary staff have also been recruited and are currently in training, to help bolster the workforce and help NHS 24 support as many people as possible.

NHS 24 medical director Dr Laura Ryan said: “NHS 24 people have been, quite simply, amazing.” 

11.18am: Barclays to waive overdraft interest until end of April

Barclays UK will waive interest on overdrafts for a fixed period, as part of moves to help personal banking customers through tough financial times amid the spread of coronavirus.

The bank said overdraft interest will be waived from Friday to the end of April, meaning no charges for customers to use their agreed overdraft.

It said customers do not need to call it to set this up – as interest will automatically be removed from March 27.

The move is part of a wider package of support that the bank is offering to help customers who are suffering financial hardship because of coronavirus.

Gillean Dooney, managing director at Barclays, said: “It’s crucial we offer the right support to our customers through this challenging time.

“We have therefore decided to waive all overdraft interest until the end of April, meaning there will be no charges for customers to use their arranged overdraft. We are reviewing all options to help customers after this time to ensure we support those in financial difficulty.”

Morrisons: Customers at the store in Giffnock.

11.08am: Shoppers keep their distance

Shoppers at a Morrisons store in Giffnock, East Renfrewshire, kept their distance from each other while lining up outside the supermarket.

A customer told STV News: “It worked really well.

“Staff monitored who was going in, everyone in the queue was kept apart, and there was plenty of food too.”

11am: New £5m fund to help Scottish fishing and seafood industry

The fishing and seafood industry will receive £5m from the Scottish Government to help businesses during the coronavirus outbreak.

Demand for Scottish delicacies such as langoustine, prawns and crab has fallen sharply as the export and hospitality markets contract.

The funding will be offered to 650 companies in the industry, including onshore processing firms.

Owners of vessels less than 12 metres long will receive an initial payment of 50% of two months’ average earnings, administered by Marine Scotland.

10.45am: Dumfries and Galloway family desperate to get home

A crowdfunding page has been set up for a Dumfries and Galloway family stuck in Florida.

George McMillan, 43, his wife Kim, 42, and their children Finlay, 13, and Ruby, five, travelled to the popular holiday destination on March 5.

But the Leswalt family’s holiday plans were scuppered after Disney World Florida announced it would close due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Mr McMillan, who suffers from Crohn’s disease, said their flights to the UK were cancelled and they are soon to be kicked out of their hotel.

“It’s been very stressful, more so these last few days as in two days’ time that’s us out of the hotel,” he said.

“I have enough medication to see me through to about Saturday.”

Stranded: The McMillan family are stuck in Florida.

While flights have been arranged for their return, Mr McMillan said they are not guaranteed.

“There is so much conflicting information, we are effectively in the dark,” he added.

Crowdfunding page GoFundMe said a keyword search on its website showed a 54% increase in campaigns in the last week mentioning being stuck abroad, and a 33% increase in campaigns mentioning being stranded overseas.

Royal: Prince Charles and Camilla. Getty Images

10.43am: Prince Charles diagnosed with coronavirus in Scotland

Prince Charles has tested positive for coronavirus while in Scotland, his office has confirmed.

His wife Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, has also been tested but does not have the virus.

The tests were carried out by the NHS in Aberdeenshire, where the couple are staying at Balmoral.

10.30am: Six-month MOT exemption announced

Vehicle owners in Britain will be granted a six-month exemption from MOT testing, the Department for Transport (DfT) has announced.

All cars, vans and motorcycles will be exempted from needing a test from March 30.

This will allow people to carry on with essential travel during the coronavirus pandemic, the DfT said.

Drivers were warned vehicles must be kept in a roadworthy condition.

Garages will remain open for essential repair work.

10.30am: Distillery produces 30 litres of hand sanitiser

Darnley’s Gin, created on the site of Kingsbarns Distillery on the outskirts of St Andrews, has completed its first-ever production of hand sanitiser to support the most vulnerable in the East Neuk of Fife during the ongoing Covid-19 outbreak.

Following guidance from the World Health Organisation, the company has produced 30 litres of the gel – which will now be distributed free of charge to churches, care homes, businesses and the most vulnerable individuals in the local area.

Cheers to that: Darnley’s Gin hand sanitiser.

William Wemyss, founder and managing director of Darnley’s Gin and Kingsbarns Distillery, said: “These are uncertain and challenging times for us all.  

“Family and community spirit have always been at the very heart of our business, and now more than ever, we aim to do all we can to assist our neighbours here in the East Neuk.”

10am: Fire service enacting ‘robust contingency plans’

Scotland’s top fire chief has reassured communities that the rescue service is taking all necessary measures to minimise disruption to its emergency response amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

Martin Blunden, chief officer of the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS), said “robust contingency plans” are in place to manage increasing levels of sickness and self-isolation among firefighters and staff.

This includes the temporary suspension of the service’s home fire safety visit programme; halting attendance at external events; and inviting recently retired firefighters and specialist staff to return to the frontline to cover potential absences.

Speaking of the potential impact on the service’s core emergency response, chief officer Blunden said: “We continue to work to attend every 999 call that we receive.

“However, should we have a significant staff absence, our highly trained operations control staff will assess calls that we receive to make sure that we attend the calls where we can save life, or where we can prevent significant damage to buildings or properties.

“They will make that assessment, and we may eventually have to place calls into a queue until resources can be made available.

“But I can assure you that for every 999 call where you need our response, we will attend, and we will do everything we can to assist and save life.”

Handout via Getty Images
Finance secretary: Kate Forbes has pledged to put pressure on banks.

9.50am: Banks must ‘do their bit’

Scotland’s finance secretary has pledged to put pressure on banks if they fail to help individuals and businesses left struggling during the coronavirus outbreak.

Kate Forbes she would “expect” banks to be supportive to requests to defer payments from those who have fallen on hard times.

But if they do not, she said she would “most happily put pressure on them” as ministers “expect the banks to do their bit”.

Speaking on Wednesday morning, Ms Forbes said she had taken part in a virtual roundtable meeting on Tuesday with banks and other financial services.

During the talks, she said she had been stressing that “they need to be sympathetic to requests for payment deferrals, for mortgage holiday and other things”.

She said: “This is about getting through the next few months, this is about ensuring we still have an economy at the end of it and that businesses that have struggled can bounce back and people have money in their pockets.

“So if there are cases where banks are not sympathetic I will most happily put pressure on them. We expect the banks to do their bit to support communities and support businesses through the next few months.

“And where they are not, that should be flagged and I will most certainly take it up with the banks.”

9am: Persimmon and Bellway shutting construction sites

Housebuilders Bellway and Persimmon are shutting construction sites despite being allowed to stay open amid the lockdown to help protect workers from coronavirus.

Bellway said it was closing its 200 building sites across the country by the end of Friday, with site managers only allowed onto developments to maintain security or to hand over keys to buyers.

Persimmon confirmed it is also starting an “orderly shutdown” of its construction sites.

It said it would continue with essential work only, making partly-built homes safe, where otherwise customers could be left in a vulnerable position.

Bellway has already shut its sales offices and Persimmon is closing its sales network from Thursday, offering telephone and online-only customer support.

Glasgow Subway: Services will close early from Wednesday night.

8am: Glasgow Subway to close early

Glasgow Subway will close early each night as the country gets to grips with strengthened measures to tackle the coronavirus outbreak.

From Wednesday, the underground system will close at 9pm when the last train leaves St Enoch.

Previous services continued to run as late as 11.30pm between Monday and Saturday.

Transport bosses said the move was for the “protection” of staff and passengers.

6am: ‘Safe and secure’ climate summit could be held

Police chiefs are set to be told a “safe and secure” COP26 can still be delivered in Glasgow despite concerns surrounding the coronavirus pandemic.

The Scottish Police Authority will meet via tele-conference on Wednesday and get an update on Police Scotland’s preparations for the United Nations climate conference, planned to take place in November at the Scottish Events Campus (SEC).

But members will also hear “that position may change over the coming months” as the coronavirus outbreak develops.

6am: Online marketplaces ‘must stamp out Covid-19 profiteering’

Amazon Marketplace and eBay are being urged to clamp down harder on coronavirus profiteering by sellers, after Which? found many everyday household products being offered at inflated prices.

The consumer group said it had found overpricing of cleaning products, thermometers, baby formula and tampons.

In several cases prices were around ten times what shoppers would normally expect to pay and in some instances the price inflation was even higher.

Which? said online marketplaces should be bringing in stricter controls to identify and prevent sellers charging unjustifiable high prices for essentials – and policies must be communicated clearly and directly with sellers.

However, both eBay and Amazon said they are taking tough action against “price gouging” – which happens when a seller dramatically inflates the price of goods – including preventing bad sellers from using accounts.

6am: Scottish courts to close to public as cases scaled back

Scottish courts will close to the public and significantly reduce the number of cases heard in person due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service (SCTS) has announced further measures to limit the number of people attending court, with a “bare minimum” of cases being heard.

From Wednesday, members of the public will be unable to attend trials and hearings, while all cases before sheriffs will take place in ten courts across Scotland.

Courts have already ceased all jury trials and adjourned all-but-essential summary criminal trials and civil hearings involving witnesses.

The High Court will continue to sit in both Edinburgh and Glasgow for urgent cases and the Court of Session will still deal with essential civil business, such as child abduction petitions and interim interdicts.

Scottish Government: Deputy first minister John Swinney.

6am: Childcare places ‘must go to most critical key workers’

Childcare places for the children of key workers “must be kept to an absolute minimum”, the deputy first minister has said.

John Swinney said that parents and employers should only take up the childcare places being offered if they are the “most-critical key workers” who cannot work from home and have no other care options.

The childcare places are being provided by local authorities, third sector and private providers to the most vulnerable children in society and those whose parents are deemed critical to the coronavirus response, including frontline medics and emergency service staff.

6am: The fight against coronavirus continues

People are expected to remain at home in an effort to stop the spread of coronavirus.

On Monday night, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced Britons should only go out for exercise once a day under the draconian measures.

Gatherings of two of more people are banned, except for members of the same household. 

People should only go to the shops for essentials like food or medicine as infrequently as possible, and should not go out to see friends or family members who do not live at the same house.

More on:

Scots soak up sunshine as Covid travel restrictions ease

Parks and seaside resorts busy as groups of up to six adults from six households are now allowed to meet outdoors.

STV News

Some coronavirus travel restrictions have been removed in Scotland and more people are now able to meet up outdoors.

The latest stage in lockdown easing was announced at an unscheduled Covid-19 briefing by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon on Tuesday.

She said the continued decline in virus cases meant the restrictions can be eased earlier than planned.

Scots can now travel across local authority boundaries for outdoor socialising, recreation and exercise.

STV News
Cyclists pass a queue at an ice-cream van in Cramond, north-west of Edinburgh.
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But they must follow the “stay local” order for other purposes such as non-essential shopping, and travel to some islands is not allowed.

Rules on gatherings have also been relaxed, with groups of up to six adults from six households now allowed to meet outdoors.

Children under 12 do not count towards the limit.

STV News
Loch Morlich near Aviemore in the Highlands

As the changes took effect, the latest Scottish Government coronavirus figures showed three deaths of Covid patients and 204 positive tests were recorded in the past 24 hours,

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Friday’s data brings the death toll under this measure – of people who first tested positive for the virus within the previous 28 days – to 7640.

The daily test positivity rate is 1.4%, up from 1.2% on Thursday.

There are now 109 people in hospital in Scotland confirmed to have the virus, down six in 24 hours, and of these 18 patients are in intensive care – up two.

STV News
Largs on Friday, April 16.

A total of 2,722,084 people north of the border have received their first dose of a Covid-19 vaccine and 688,761 have had their second.

Among those heading further afield on Friday was Andrew McVie, 27, from Glasgow, who told the PA news agency he was “super excited” to be visiting Millport on the Isle of Cumbrae for a cycling day trip for the first time in more than two years.

The clerical assistant said he has enjoyed returning to the scenic island – a short ferry ride from Largs on the North Ayrshire coast – after visiting as a child with his mother.

He said: “I try and go with a bike when I’m free on weekends and day trips, I really enjoy it and it’s dead handy to get to and dead easy to cycle around, you can do it in about two hours if you don’t stop.

STV News
Largs on Friday, April 16.
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“It’s why a lot of people like it, there’s great scenery and it’s a really nice, friendly, welcoming place and it’s a beautiful day.

“I’ve missed it so much not being able to go because of the travel restrictions, but I’ll still be taking precautions.

“And tomorrow I’m going through to Edinburgh with a couple of friends for the first time in over a year which will be good.”

STV News
Lochore Meadows in Fife.

The latest lockdown easing comes after barbers and hairdressers opened on April 5 and ahead of a more substantial unlocking of the country on April 26.

On that date, Scotland will move from level four to level three of the four-tier system of restrictions.

Cafes, restaurants and beer gardens can then reopen, along with shops, gyms, libraries and museums.

Travel between Scotland, England and Wales will be permitted and tourist accommodation can welcome back visitors.

STV News
Kelvingrove Park, Glasgow.

Other restrictions will ease in May and over the summer if Covid-19 continues to be suppressed.

Announcing the measures on Tuesday, Sturgeon said: “We have always said we will keep plans under review and accelerate the lifting of restrictions if possible.

“The improved data does not allow us to throw caution to the wind – not if we are sensible – but it does give us a bit of limited headroom.

STV News
People enjoying the sun and sand in Aberdeen on Friday, April 16.

“So from the end of this week, you will be able to meet up with family and friends who live in different parts of the country.

“Many of those reunions will be long-awaited, and much anticipated. Please do remember that meetings at this stage must still be outdoors – you cannot socialise in people’s homes – and remember due to physical distancing, public transport capacity remains relatively limited.”

But on Thursday, the First Minister told the PA news agency it was “positive” that the easing of travel restrictions had been brought forward, but cautioned Scots not to allow their guard to drop.

STV News
Two people meet together on a bench in Aberdeen.

“Don’t go to crowded places, if you’re headed to a beach or a park and it’s crowded please come away again because crowded places are not safe places to be.

“Please stick to all of the rules and advice, remember your face covering, remember, as I say, to avoid crowded places, hand hygiene, keep your two metre distancing.”

The First Minister added: “As long as we all stick to the advice that’s still in place, this easing of restrictions tomorrow should be the first of many and I think, not least because of the vaccine programme, we can all afford to be just that bit more optimistic right now.”

One in six UK adults fully vaccinated against Covid-19

In Scotland, more than 15% of adults have been given two doses of the vaccine.

Geoff Caddick via PA Wire
The figures are for vaccinations reported by the UK’s health agencies up to April 15.

One in six UK adults are now fully vaccinated against Covid-19, with more than two million second doses delivered in the past seven days, latest figures show.

A total of 8.9 million people have now received both jabs – the equivalent of 17.0% of the adult population.

In Scotland, over 15% of the adults have been given two doses, some way behind Wales where an estimated 22.8% have and Northern Ireland (17.2%), with England sitting at 16.8%.

The figures are for vaccinations reported by the UK’s health agencies up to April 15, and reflect the pace at which second doses are being ramped up across the country.

PA Graphics via PA Wire
Adults who have received Covid-19 vaccine (PA Graphics).
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Some 2.4 million second doses were recorded in the seven days to April 15, compared with 1.6 million, 1.9 million and just under one million in the previous three weeks.

Second doses of Covid-19 vaccines must follow within 12 weeks of the first, meaning the millions of people who received their initial jab in January and early February have recently had a follow-up dose, or are due to get the jab shortly.

People aged 80 and over were among the first groups on the priority list for vaccines, with initial doses offered from early December.

Figures released on Thursday by NHS England suggest around three-quarters of people in England in this age group have now had both doses of vaccine.

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In Scotland, 72% of people 80 and over are estimated to have had both jabs, along with 67% in Wales and 41% in Northern Ireland.

Wales leads the field in both first and second doses of vaccine, with nearly two-thirds of its adult population having received the first jab (65.7%), followed by England (61.8%), Scotland (61.4%) and Northern Ireland (58.5%).

Huge plumes of smoke as firefighters tackle wildfire

The blaze in Glen Cloy near Brodick was first reported at around 3.50pm on Friday.

Craig Galloway via Submitted
Three appliances are in attendance at the grass fire.

A wildfire has spread across a hillside on the isle of Arran after warnings of an extreme risk across western Scotland.

The blaze in Glen Cloy near Brodick was first reported at around 3.49pm on Friday.

Scottish Fire and Rescue Service said that firefighters were working to control the blaze across a 100m front.

The fire has engulfed a hill near Brodick on the isle of Arran (Craig Galloway)

Three appliances are in attendance at the grass fire.

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There is a warning of an extreme risk of wildfires across western Scotland.

The fire has engulfed a hill near Brodick on the isle of Arran (Craig Galloway)

The warning is in place across west, north-east, east and central Scotland until Saturday, April 17.


Hunt for thieves who torched children’s charity minibus

The bus, belonging to childcare charity Simply Play, was found burnt out and destroyed.

Simply Play via Simply Play
Destroyed: The minibus was found on Monday.

A minibus stolen from a primary school in West Lothian has been found burnt out and destroyed.

The bus, belonging to childcare charity Simply Play, was stolen from Simpson’s Primary in Wester Inch, Bathgate on Friday.

After an appeal to help find the bus, the “heartbroken” group revealed on Friday that it had been found, but in an irreparable state.

It was found completely burnt out in Fauldhouse on Monday evening.

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A GoFundMe page has now been launched to help pay for a new bus.

Posting on their Facebook page they said: “Words can’t describe how heartbroken we are.

“This is what they’ve done to our children’s minibus – totally stripped and burnt out in the middle of nowhere.”

Police are now investigating the incident.

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A spokesperson for the force said: “Police in West Lothian are investigating the theft of a vehicle from outside a school in Bathgate which was later found burnt out in Fauldhouse.

“The theft happened from outside the school on Leyland Road on Friday, 9 April, sometime after 5.30pm.

“The vehicle was then found burnt out on Monday evening, in Fauldhouse.

“Anyone who saw the vehicle between Friday, 9 April and Monday, 12 April, or has any information to assist police enquiries, should contact officers on 101.”

The charities GoFundMe page has so far raised over £1,000 towards a replacement.

Their CEO Raymond Branton said: “Everyone is gutted with this heartless theft.

“The last year has been tough enough on childcare providers and as a local charity, this will cost us money that we can ill afford”


SNP: Dental charges axed for youngsters who have been in care

The SNP manifesto, unveiled by Sturgeon on Thursday, contained plans to axe the charges over the course of the next parliament.

Jane Barlow via PA Ready
Sturgeon: To axe dental charges for young Scots who have been in care.

Plans to scrap NHS dental charges in Scotland will begin with abolishing the fees for young people who have been in care, Nicola Sturgeon is due to confirm.

The SNP manifesto, unveiled by Sturgeon on Thursday, contained plans to axe the charges over the course of the next parliament if the party is re-elected to power in next month’s Holyrood election.

If returned as First Minister, Sturgeon plans to work with the British Dental Association and others to develop a “reformed funding arrangement” for services to make them “sustainable for the long term”.

The SNP scrapped prescription charges in Scotland while Sturgeon was health secretary.

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She added that ending dental charges would “complete an SNP mission – to restore all of Scotland’s NHS to its founding principle” of being free at the point of demand.

Ending the charges will cost £75m initially, though Sturgeon said this was expected to rise to £100m as demand increases when fees are removed.

The SNP leader, who is campaigning in Glasgow on Friday ahead of next month’s election, will say: “NHS services should be free at the point of need, and when I was health secretary I was proud to abolish prescription charges, which were little more than a tax on ill health.

“Although we have made huge progress in improving access to dental treatment in Scotland in recent years, charges remain a barrier for too many people.

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“That’s why, if re-elected, an SNP Government will abolish all NHS dentistry charges in Scotland.

“We will start the rollout with care-experienced people between the ages of 18 and 26 – and complete the rollout over the course of the parliament.

“As we do this, we will engage with the British Dental Association and others to help shape a reformed funding arrangement to make their services sustainable for the long term.”


Sunshine on Leith actor guilty of sexually assaulting actress

Kevin Guthrie faces jail after being found guilty of sexually assaulting a vulnerable woman in Glasgow.

Amanda Edwards / Stringer via Getty Images
Guilty: Kevin Guthrie faces jail.

Scottish actor Kevin Guthrie has been found guilty of sexually assaulting a vulnerable actress.

The Sunshine on Leith star, 33, took advantage of the 29-year-old woman who had appeared unwell after a night out. 

The incident occurred at the flat of fellow actor Scott Reid – Methadone Mick in BBC’s Still Game.

Guthrie had insisted he had only “helped” the woman that night – but his DNA was found on the inside of her underwear.

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He wept and said “why?” as the verdict was delivered at Glasgow Sheriff Court on Friday.

He had denied a sexual assault charge during a four-day trial.

Sheriff Tom Hughes told him: “You took advantage of this woman while she was in a vulnerable position.

“The jury say you were found in a position of trust while you were supposed to be looking after her.

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“Your position stands in direct contrast to the one of your friend Scott Reid whose actions were highly commendable.

“He rushed to her aid when something happened outside his home and he cared for her.

“He was constantly trying to get help through NHS 24 and did absolutely anything to help her.

“This must carry a custodial sentence for this serious matter you have been found guilty of.”

Guthrie, of the city’s Yorkhill, was put on the sex offenders’ list.

He was bailed pending sentencing next month.

The attack occurred between September 30 and October 1, 2017.

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The woman had been due to meet Guthrie and Scott at a bar on the night of the alleged attack.

Scott received a call from a taxi driver to collect her as she appeared ill.

He and Guthrie helped the woman into the flat in Glasgow’s Kelvindale and put her on a bed.

Scott called NHS 24 leaving Guthrie in the room “to make sure she was okay”.

The woman recalled Scott not being in the room and bed covers then “being moved down my body”.

She went on: “I remember my top being lifted up and my bra being held down.”

The woman was groped by Guthrie before he performed a sex act on her.

Guthrie – who also starred in the Fantastic Beasts film and Netflix series The English Game – carried out a further two sexual acts and kissed her on the mouth. He would stop when Scott would come into the room.

She added: “I was unsure about what was happening, I could not believe it was happening.”

Prosecutor Harry Findlay asked why she did not say anything.

She replied: “I couldn’t. I found it difficult to communicate in any way.

“I think I was frozen as well.”

Guthrie refuted the accusations agreeing with his QC Gordon Jackson that it had instead been a “panic situation” due to the woman’s condition.

However, his DNA was found on the inside of the woman’s underpants.

Mr Findlay asked Guthrie to explain why this was.

He said: “I can’t for the life of me explain in any rational sense how that happened.”

Sentence was deferred until next month for background reports.


Man in court accused of murdering father-of-two in street

Kai Russell, 22, allegedly killed Kamil Charyszyn , 35, in Easterhouse on 21 March, 2021.

Mark Scates via SNS Group / Police Scotland
Kai Russell appeared at Glasgow Sheriff Court accused of the murder of Kamil Charyszyn (right).

A suspect has appeared in court accused of murdering a man on a Glasgow street.

Kai Russell, 22, allegedly killed Kamil Charyszyn , 35, in Easterhouse on 21 March, 2021.

Prosecutors claim Russell stabbed Mr Charyszyn on the neck with a knife or a similar instrument.

Russell is also accused of having a knife without a reasonable excuse or lawful authority in Coatbridge, North Lanarkshire, on the same date. 

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Russell, who was represented by his lawyer Ian Moir, made no plea at a private hearing at Glasgow Sheriff Court.

He was remanded in custody pending further examination.

Russell, also of the city’s Easterhouse, will appear in court again within the next eight days.


Starmer calls for aviation recovery plan in Edinburgh Airport visit

The party has proposed a number of job-creating schemes ahead of May’s Scottish Parliament election.

Lesley Martin via PA Ready
Sir Keir Starmer and Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar have set out their plans to create thousands of jobs in Scotland.

Labour has called for a recovery plan for the aviation industry, as Sir Keir Starmer visited Edinburgh Airport.

He met with Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar and the airport’s chief executive Gordon Dewar as he travelled to Scotland on Friday.

Mr Dewar said the Scottish Government had failed to provide any plan for how international travel could resume when conditions allow.

It comes as Labour pledges to create 170,000 jobs through a variety of schemes as part of its election promises.

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Sir Keir said airport executives had stressed the need for a plan on how air travel could resume, while aviation would be crucial to the economic recovery.

The Labour leader told the PA news agency: “What they are most concerned about is that there needs to be a plan for the future, the uncertainty is having a huge effect on the airport, on those employed at the airport and everybody associated with it.

Jeff J Mitchell via PA Media
Single Use. Sir Keir Starmer, left, and Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar have set out their plans to create thousands of jobs in Scotland.

“So there needs to be a plan for the recovery. That’s why here in Scotland the central focus has to be on the recovery and that’s why Scottish Labour are today launching this 170,000 jobs package for the future.”

Mr Sarwar called for the aviation sector to have a transitional support fund as travel returned to pre-Covid levels, limiting the unemployment resulting from low passenger numbers.

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He said: “It’s going to take time to get us back to even pre-Covid levels, never mind going beyond those levels, and that’s why we need to have support for businesses across the country, that includes support for the aviation industry.

“So we can have people coming to Scotland, enjoying Scotland, spending money in Scotland and doing trade in Scotland if we are going to come through this as a stronger and fairer nation.”

Mr Dewar said the mood at his airport was currently “downbeat”.

He said: “It’s a very, very quiet place to be, it’s a very uncertain future in front of us at the moment.

“We’re just hoping we can get engagement with government to start talking about how we’re going to trade our way out of this in the future.

“But unfortunately at the moment that doesn’t seem to be happening.”

Mr Dewar said the UK Government was introducing a traffic light system to allow international travel to start again, but there was no equivalent plan for Scotland.

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He continued: “We’re going to be falling behind. Government not only doesn’t have a plan, they refuse to talk about a plan.

“So it’s really worrying about how we’re meant to explain to airlines, to passengers, to everyone that relies on aviation in Scotland what to expect in the coming future.”

Mr Dewar said he was not currently asking for financial support from government, but was seeking clarity on when and how trading could resume.

He added: “The UK currently has started to open up – Scotland hasn’t.

“There is no plan whatsoever of any description or any timing for international travel.

“We’re being told we are the price of the recovery.

“I just think that’s utterly unacceptable and I don’t see how any government can know it’s making good decisions if they haven’t done the work to know what a good decision looks like.”

Hunt for man who asked schoolgirl to ‘get into his van’

A manhunt is under way after the incident in Fife on Thursday evening was reported to police.

© Google Maps 2020
The incident reportedly took place outside the Spar on High Street, Freuchie.

A man reportedly asked a ten-year-old girl to get into his van outside a main street shop in a Fife village.

At around 6.30pm on Thursday, the schoolgirl was with her friends outside the Spar on Freuchie’s High Street when the man is said to have approached them.

Police said he had previously been inside the store and, after he spoke to the girl, got into his black van and drove away.

Officers are searching for the man and have asked anyone with any information to get in touch.

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A Police Scotland spokesperson said: “Police enquiries are ongoing following a report of a ten-year-old girl approached by a man outside the Spar on High Street, Freuchie, around 6.30pm on Thursday, April 15.

“The man had been in the shop before the incident and he drove off in a black van.

“The young girl was with her friends at the time and officers are currently carrying out enquiries to establish more information and trace the man involved.

“Anyone with information should contact officers through 101, quoting reference number 3550 of April 15.”


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