Breakdown: Coronavirus (COVID-19) update: First Minister’s speech 29 May 2020

This is my interpretation of what I heard and not a script in the complete sense of the word. There is a full script of today’s ministerial statement here. It also filters out all the political, repetitive fluff that happens on most of these updates. 

I do welcome debate to my blog, but any aggression or general being horrid will be deleted and blocked.

Anyone with symptoms (persistent cough, fever or loss of sense of taste or smell) take immediate steps to book a test.

Click here to be taken to the NHS COVID-19 test booking service.

If you can’t get online call the helpline: 0800 028 2816.

If you are contacted by Test and Protect to say you have been in contact with someone infectious, then you MUST SELF ISOLATE for 14 days.

To prevent infection:

  • Stay at least two metres apart.
  • Wash your hands regularly and thoroughly for 20 seconds.
  • Avoid touching your face.
  • Cough etiquette.
  • Wear a face covering in enclosed spaces.
  • Clean all surfaces regularly.
Various bottles of cleaning fluid with labels reading "Stay calm spray", "Don't panic" and "follow the rules"

Speakers Present

First Minister of Scotland: Nicola Sturgeon

Cabinet Secretary for the Economy, Work and Culture: Fiona Hyslop

National Clinical Director: Jason Leitch 

Opening Statement: First Minister of Scotland

Statistics 28th May 2020:

Positive cases: 15,327- an increase of 39 from yesterday

Patients in the hospital with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 infection: 1,216 – a decrease of 22 since yesterday.

Patients in intensive care with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 infection: 40 – an increase of 3 since yesterday.

Patients that have been discharged from hospital after having suspected or confirmed COVID-19 infection (total): 3,640.

Deaths since yesterday suspected or confirmed COVID-19 infection: 15 (an increase of 3)

The total number of deaths suspected or confirmed COVID-19 infection: 2,331.

Every one of the people we have lost to COVID-19 was loved and is now profoundly missed, and in the future, we will want to mourn that loss.

COVID-19 is still fatal, hundreds are in hospital with new infections being registered continuously.

Recap on lockdown changes that have taken effect today

“However harsh these rules might feel right now, abiding by them will never be as harsh as grieving the loss of a loved one.”

Nicola Sturgeon
  • You can meet with one other household.
  • To a maximum of eight people (ideally less).
  • Must be outside (including private gardens).
  • You can relax and sit or sunbathe in parks and open areas.
  • At least two-metre separation.
  • Don’t touch the same surfaces.
  • If the distance to someone else is so far that you would need to go to the bathroom, then do not go.
  • You can travel, preferably walking or cycling for recreation. No more than 5 miles.
  • Do not crowd on tourist spots or beauty areas.
  • If an area is crowded, go elsewhere.
  • Be rigorous in your hand hygiene.

The full route map out of lockdown can be found here.

If these guidelines are not followed, the consequences will be measured in the reverse of lockdown and the needless death of more people. 

The Manufacturing Sector

Manufacturing is vital in Scotland, and its importance has been underlined since the start of lockdown. 

Many manufacturers have stepped forward to help Scotlands crisis response, some have repurposed and/ or scaled up their operations to meet the demand for essential items like PPE and hand sanitiser. 

Thank you for the manufacturing businesses, not involved in essential work, for remaining closed.

Most of Scotlands manufacturing businesses will not be able to open until Phase 2 of the route map. However, they can start to make preparations for a safe return to work.

The guidance on the measures that the manufacturing sector will need to follow were published earlier in the week.

Unless Phase 1 works safely, we won’t be able to move on to further Phases.

The main priority is a careful return.

They created a package of business support totaling £2.3 million.

Extension for eligibility to give more support to more businesses.

Fair work principles in all guidance have been created in cooperation with employers and trade unions.

Guidance supporting safe working (Each is linked respectively):

Guidance for forestry and environmental management for the restart of outdoor landscapes work will be published by the end of the week.

Food Standards Scotland guidelines for restarting takeaway and drive-through businesses.

The National Manufacturing Institute

There will be an additional £20 million of funding for Scotlands new National Manufacturing Institute (NMI). Bringing total investment to £75 million.

The contract to build the new institute has been awarded but will only go ahead when safe to do so.

The NMI will be operated by the University of Strathclyde merging academia and industry.

The NMI will allow businesses to access R&D.

Advancing Manufacturing Challenge Fund

Total (including match funding): £15.8 million

Improving support of local manufacturers across Scotland.

There are 12 new projects as part of the AMCF each designed to help SME’s

A strong manufacturing sector means that our economy will be prepared for the challenges of the post-COVID-19 world.

Each project is lead by a local authority, an academic institution or a 3rd sector organisation.

Some projects directed at the development of technology and skills for use across multiple manufacturing sectors.

Others focus on specific manufacturing sectors to boost health care, low-carbon energy and aerospace.

(There is a healthy amount of fluff in the answers added in here that I have omitted.)

Question: Gordon Chree, STV

As the guidelines set out using a measure of good judgement, what level of non-compliance has been factored into making changes safely?


There has been no amount of non-compliance factored in. 

Question: David Henderson, BBC

What do you say to people who may be tempted to “bend” the rules?


Please don’t. The risk is too high. The rules are there for a reason. 

Question: Fraser Knight, Global

If the chancellor doesn’t extend the support announced to the self-employed, what will the Scottish Government do to make sure the self-employed can continue to not have to work?


The UK government that holds authority in this instance. The UK self-employed scheme should be extended to October. This scheme didn’t help everyone. The Scottish Government stepped in to help the newly self-employed. My comment: It seems here that the cabinet secretary is implying that there is no concrete plan for the extension till October and that it is something the Scottish Government are still trying to get secured.

Question: James Anderson, The Telegraph:

  1. Have Police Scotland updated government about how the public are reacting to the move into Phase 1 this morning?
  2. Is it hypocritical to criticise the mixed messages from the UK government when the podium still shows “stay at home”, yet you are promoting being able to go outdoors?


The police have reported no increase in non-adherence to guidelines set out. The foundation advice is still to stay at home.

Question: Christine Lovell, The Sun:

Dr Margaret McCartney, GP based in Glasgow, warned that test, trace and isolate may do more harm than good as the rate of false negatives could be up to 30%.

  1. What is the official rate of false negatives?
  2. Are you concerned about false negatives?


Test and Protect is only works alongside the other guidelines and laws previously set out. The difficulty with testing arises particularly with those that are asymptomatic. The rate of false positives is almost 0%. The challenge with the false negatives is with the sampling for example in the very elderly the sampling is technically more difficult – from experience the test is horrid, 2 swabs right down the throat and two right up the nose almost tickling the brain.

Every test, not only that for COVID-19 has a false-negative rate. – Again from my personal experience. I went to A&E on my GP’s recommendation for a chest infection. I was poked and prodded and told I “probably” have a mild chest infection and given some antibiotics. Then 6 weeks later I was told by letter that actually there was cause for concern on my X-Ray. Then it said I should attend for a follow-up x-ray as soon as possible.

Question: Tom Martin, The Daily Express

What are the measures being taken to ensure that identity fraudsters do not exploit the cold calling system of Test and Protect?


There is already a secure unique barcode system for those that are positive in place for tuberculosis that will simply be ramped up. When you get the test, you are given a barcode that is unique to you. For the cold called contacts of a positive person – Health Protection Scotland has been discussing putting steps in place to avoid this including the possibility of identifiable phone numbers that the calls come from, the ability to call back to Test and Protect directly.

Question: Scott McNab, Scotsman

What part of the economic recovery plan will this generation of teenagers be and what type of support is the Scottish Government providing to this group of citizens?


Young people and women will particularly suffer in the jobs market because of the impact of COVID-19. The recovery of the economy must involve more digitisation and more of a “green” recovery. There will be an enhancement of skills, training, jobs and opportunities for those young people in those industries. Success was had in the last financial crisis, and the same theory will be applied here.

Question: Pat McGlaughlan, The Times

The science tells us there is nothing to be gained at this point from stopping large gatherings or closing schools… We have to time this right, we have increased the number of people over a prolonged period so that we get herd immunity” – Jason Leitch, 10th March 2020

Who is the “we” he is speaking for?

Some of the discussion around herd immunity has been deeply unfortunate it has never been the policy of the Scottish Government or any government to pursue a policy of allowing and wanting people to get this virus” – Nicola Sturgeon, 16th March 2020

Can you reconcile these two disparate statements?


NS: Restates that it has never been the policy of the Scottish Government or any government to pursue a policy of allowing and wanting people to become infected with COVID-19 and then stand back and do nothing,

JL: Refutes that he ever wanted anyone to die. Immunity from the virus being good going forward remains true. We don’t know if long term immunity or reinfection is possible. 

(He says something weird here, and I think it is likely a mistake. However, he says that “we don’t yet know if you get the virus if you can pass it on to anyone else” – which we all know is complete fallacy… don’t we? If we don’t pass it, person-to-person then how do we? He also infers that his agreement with Sir Patrick was politically influenced to ensure the unity of opinion with the 4 states. If you want to hear this section for yourself, go to 42 minutes into this youtube video. I have so many questions in my head now – anyway, back to the answers). 

The best research and scientific advice is in flux at all times.

Question: Kate Foster, Daily Mail:

If there is crowding in open areas, will the police be moving people on?


It is up to the police to what extent they enforce the guidelines (This is so vague!)

Question: David Ball, The Herald

  • With blended learning, are you confident that enough additional staff will be in place?
  • Will PSA’s have to help deliver lessons?
  • There was a report of a 94-year-old woman too scared to leave her home didn’t eat for 5 days. Are you concerned that some vulnerable people are being missed out?


The blended learning is in the hands of each local authority under the guidance of the Scottish Government. The physical and staffing requirements will be looked at to make sure that all young people are taught to a high standard. 

NS will look into that individual case. Vulnerable people slipping through the net has always been a concern. There is a massive infrastructure of support put in place both for those in the shielded group. Including a helpline for those that are vulnerable but not shielded. (That helpline information is 0800 111 4000 – will operate during core working hours of Monday to Friday, 0900 to 1700)

Question: Paul Malek, The Courier:

Under Test and Protect – Will the Scottish Government introduce mandatory testing to institutions such as prisons, care homes and hospitals?


This will continue to review and follow clinical guidance with regards to this.

Question: Derek Healey Press & Journal:

NHS Tayside confirmed that they have less than half the staff needed to implement the test and protect strategy and had to scramble workers at the last minute. The council leader on the Western Isles is unconvinced his health board will be able to implement the policy either.

  • How many of Scotland’s health boards do have the correct capacity as of today?
  • And what is being done for those that don’t?


The claim that NHS Tayside is lacking capacity is based on info that is 2 weeks old. NHS Tayside has more than 70 contact tracers. Scotland, in total, has more than 2,000.

They are confident that any health board will have the capacity they need to meet or exceed the demand placed on them. If one found themselves requiring additional resources, they can call on other health boards as well. Also, they are building national capacity along with individual Health Boards. The Test and Protect system is live on the Western Isles, and they haven’t had a case since mid-April – it is noted that this doesn’t guarantee they won’t get one. The Director of Public Health for the Western Isles is confident that the integrity of the Test and Protect system is intact and ready. The local authority is being contacted by the NHS to reassure them that they are prepared.

Question: Kenny McBride, Broadcasting Scotland:

  • What is the position of the Scottish Government on people travelling from London to rural Scotland?
  • What can be done to deal with people making that journey?


This is not allowed. If you find yourself travelling to Scotland, then the rules in Scotland apply to you.

Question: Chris McCall, Daily Record:

How likely is it that people flaunt the rules that we will find ourselves in lockdown again?


Rolling the progress to Phase 1 back to lockdown will happen if it is needed.

Here is our little Smudge, when she was around 8 weeks old. Channeling a bit of Gene Simmons there, I think.

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