First Minister’s Question Time

– in the Scottish Parliament on 3rd February 2021.

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Photo of Kenneth Macintosh Kenneth Macintosh Labour

Good afternoon. We begin with First Minister’s question time but, before we turn to the questions, the First Minister will update us with a short statement on Covid.

Photo of Nicola Sturgeon Nicola Sturgeon Scottish National Party

Before I give an update on today’s statistics, I will take this opportunity to express my sadness at the death yesterday of Captain Sir Tom Moore. During the toughest of times, he inspired millions of people and, of course, he also raised millions of pounds for the national health service. I am sure that I speak on behalf of all of us when I say that our thoughts and condolences are with his family and friends.

A total of 978 new cases were reported yesterday, which is 5.1 per cent of all the tests that were carried out. The total number of cases, therefore, now stands at 182,269. There are currently 1,871 people in hospital, which represents a decrease of 63 since yesterday, and 128 people are in intensive care, which is 12 fewer than yesterday. However, I regret to report that, in the past 24 hours, a further 88 deaths were registered of patients who first tested positive in the previous 28 days, and the total number of people who have died under that daily measurement is now 6,269.

National Records of Scotland has just published its weekly update, which includes cases where Covid is a suspected or contributory cause of death, and today’s update shows that, by Sunday, the total number of registered deaths linked to Covid under the wider definition was 8,347. Some 440 of those deaths were registered last week, which is 12 fewer than in the previous week. Of those deaths, 301 occurred in hospitals, 97 in care homes, 38 at home or in other non-institutional settings and four in other institutions. Yet again, I send my condolences to everyone who has lost a loved one during the pandemic.

I can also report that, as of 8.30 this morning, 649,262 people had received their first dose of vaccine. That is an increase of 38,484 since the figure that was reported yesterday. That is the highest daily total so far and is 59 per cent up on the same day last week.

As I said yesterday, the total figure includes 98 per cent of residents in older people’s care homes who have not just been offered the vaccine but have been vaccinated with the first dose. In addition, 87 per cent of people aged over 80 living in the community have also now had the first dose. That figure is based on our original estimate of the number of over-80s but, as I said yesterday, work that is being done with health boards to refine that estimate suggests that that percentage might now be higher. I can report that, as of this morning, 20 per cent of people aged 75 to 79 have also had the first dose.

I thank everyone who is working across the country to get people vaccinated as quickly as possible, and also the public for the quite extraordinary uptake so far.

Finally, there is one other issue that I want to draw briefly to Parliament’s attention. The independent review of adult social care has just published its report, and I thank the chair, Derek Feeley, and the advisory panel of experts for their work over the past five months. I also thank everyone who took the time to share their experiences. Today’s final report covers all aspects of adult social care services and, among its 53 recommendations, it calls for the creation of a national care service. The Government will respond to its recommendations in due course, and the Cabinet Secretary for Health and Sport has requested a parliamentary debate on the report later this month. The pandemic has shown us more starkly than ever before just how much our care services matter, and the review’s report provides us with a basis for significantly improving those services and, of course, is a vital first step towards the creation of a national care service.

I will conclude with a reiteration of the key ask of all of us right now: please stay at home, except for essential purposes. Staying at home remains essential to getting and keeping the virus under control as we vaccinate more and more people. The sacrifices that are being asked of everyone are hard, but they are working, so please stick with it. Remember FACTS when you are out but, unless it is essential to be out of your home, stay at home, protect the NHS and save lives.

The Presiding Officer:

The First Minister will now take questions. Members who wish to ask a supplementary question should press their request-to-speak button early.