Thursday 11 February 2021
Incredible news this week with 1 million vaccinations administered to date and numbers of vaccinations per day increasing rapidly.
This is all thanks to our NHS staff with support from army personnel we have reached this milestone. With 93% of over-80s living in the community vaccinated along with 99% of older adult care home residents and 89% of staff in older adult care homes. A total of 272,365 frontline health and social care workers have also been vaccinated, exceeding the initial target of 230,000 staff provided by health boards.
There is still some way to go but the programme remains on track to complete first doses for all those in the 70-79 age group by the end of this week. Those aged 65 and over are also receiving invitations for their appointment.
You can access further information on the vaccination programme here: https://www.gov.scot/collections/coronavirus-covid-19-vaccination/
All arrivals to Scotland from outside the Common Travel Area must book and pay for managed isolation in quarantine hotels to help protect against the importation of the virus from 15 February.
Six hotels close to Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Glasgow airports with a combined capacity of 1,300 rooms will be used to implement the quarantine at a cost of £1,750 per individual traveller. Final costs for those not travelling alone are currently being worked through, as well as the details for a Managed Isolation Welfare Fund which will be launched for those who cannot afford the charge.
All arrivals must quarantine for at least ten days and will be tested twice for the virus – once on day two and once on day eight after arrival.
Existing travel exemptions will be strengthened, including limiting overseas training for elite sportspeople to athletes and coaches preparing for the Olympics and Paralympics.
A small number of arrivals will not be required to isolate, such as those involved in essential supply chains for goods coming into Scotland.
It is still the case that all non-essential international travel is not permitted.
More information can be found here: https://www.gov.scot/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-on-travel-and-transport/
Protect Scotland App
I have encouraged everyone who can to download the Protect Scotland App but I know that some older iphone users were unable to as their platform was not compatible. However we had some good news this week with the First minister announcing that older iphone users can now access the app.
I would urge those of you who can to go to https://protect.scot/ and download this app to help suppress the spread of the virus, protect the NHS and protect lives.
A further £17.5 million of emergency coronavirus (COVID-19) funding has been allocated to support creative freelancers and the events sector.
Of that, £8.5 million will go towards the events sector – distributed through the Pivotal Event Businesses Fund and the Events Industry Support Fund 2 as well as targeted support – bringing the total additional COVID-19 support for the events sector to £31.5 million.
The remaining £9 million will be distributed as a top-up to the Creative Freelancers Hardship Fund bringing the total value of support for creative freelancers to £17 million.
This support is in addition to the more than £125 million of additional funding the Scottish Government has so far allocated to culture, historic environment and events since the start of the pandemic.
More information can be found here: https://www.visitscotland.org/events/funding/coronavirus-support-fund
Grants of £750 are being paid to all registered childminders in Scotland in order to secure the sustainability of their businesses.
Funding of more than £3.2 million has been made available to ensure that all childminders registered with the Care Inspectorate will receive the flat-rate payment.
While up to £1 million had been planned for need-assessed grants, additional resource has been invested to ensure payments can be made to all registered childminders. This will simplify and speed up the process, ensuring the money reaches those that need it as quickly as possible.
You can access additional information on support here: https://www.gov.scot/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-support-to-childcare-sector/pages/childminders-financial-support/
Welcome news from the Scottish Government this week with the Cabinet Secretary for Finance announcing a doubling of the Local Authority Discretionary Fund.
This is for businesses in Scotland who have not been eligible for previous business support grants. If your business is still being adversely impacted by Tier 4 restrictions (and you have not received any support), you are eligible to apply.
You can access further information on this fund here: https://www.glasgow.gov.uk/discretionaryfund
Legal Aid Support
A resilience fund for legal aid firms and law centres, worth up to £9 million, has opened for applications.
The Coronavirus Resilience and Recovery Fund for Legal Aid has been created to provide financial support to enable legal aid services to the public to continue – assisting those practitioners that have had a reduction in legal aid business levels because of the restrictions in place.
The resilience fund forms part of a wider Scottish Government package of support for the legal aid sector worth up to £20 million. Regulations increasing fees, worth up to £10 million, were laid in Parliament at the beginning of February, and £1 million has been committed towards supporting traineeships.
The fund is open to any legal firms whose turnover is usually at least 20% derived from legal aid payments, and who have experienced a drop in projected income from new legal aid business, once any other form of COVID-related government support is taken into account.
Future of Social Care
Pre Covid-19 I and members of the Scottish Parliament’s Health and Sport Committee agreed to undertake an inquiry into the future of social care. Following this initial evidence gathering, our scrutiny of social care and support had to be put on hold due to the pandemic.
In September 2020 the Committee agreed the outcomes of their inquiry should add value to the Scottish Government’s independent review of adult social care, which was announced on 1 September 2020. At this point the Committee agreed a new approach to complete the inquiry. We continued to scrutinise what the future model of social care and support should look like and include lessons learned from the pandemic.
Please keep following the Scottish Government guidance and remember the FACTS: Face coverings, Avoid crowded places, Clean hands and surfaces regularly, Two metre distancing; and Self-isolate and book a test if you have symptoms.
Please stay safe.