Coronavirus: Latest updates, news and reports


Final updates for today from EN4 News

  • Public Health England have criticised Englands decision to exclude Mako Vunipola from Saturday’s game against Wales. PHE said in a statement: “Earlier this week the RFU asked a player, having returned from travel overseas, to not attend the camp to avoid the risk of spread, which was not necessary as he was not displaying any symptoms. The RFU accept this and this clarification.”
  • Euro BMX rounds in Verona, Italy are postponed due to the COVID-19 virus. The European Cycling Union (UEC) announced on Thursday: “The UEC Management Board, the UEC BMX Commission, the Italian Cycling Federation (FCI) and the organiser are already actively looking for another date in the UCI calendar so that the event meets the scheduled deadlines for awarding points to qualify for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.”
  • Ultra Music Festival 2020 has announced It will be postponed until 2021. Miami  Mayor  Francis Suarez announced the news and  said: “We’re emphasising to the public that this decision is not a cause for alarm or panic, but rather that we are doing it with an abundance of caution.”


Studio update 

Owen Garner is joined by Lewis Robertson in the EN4 studio to discuss the latest coronavirus updates and figures.

  • The Department for Health and Social Care has announced that the COVID-19 cases in the South West of England has reached 22
  • Reports that the UK now has 163 confirmed cases of the COVID-19 virus.
  • WHO Director General, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has warned that some countries have: “either not taken this seriously enough, or have decided there is nothing they can do. We are concerned in some countries the level of political commitment and the actions that demonstrate that commitment do not match the level of the threat we all face. This is not a drill, this is not a time to give up, the sis not a time for excuses, this is a time for pulling out all the stops.”
  • President Trump has signed an emergency bill that has made $8.3 billion available for the US government to combat the COVID-19 virus. President Trump said: “We’ve signed the 8.3 billion. I asked for 2 1/2, and I got 8.3. And I’ll take it.”


Full story on EN4 News

EN4 News reporter Jamie Braidwood has the latest from the Scottish figures released at 2pm: “Earlier this week, the Scottish Government said a ‘reasonable worst-case scenario’ could see 50 to 80% of the Scottish population contract coronavirus.”

Coronavirus: Confirmed number of cases in Scotland rises to 11



Local and international updates  

  • EN4 News reporter Ruaraidh Gilmour provides a step-by-step guide on how to correctly wash your hands to minimise the contamination risk of the virus.
  • The Indian Army is to expand quarantine facilities to cater for 1,500 people.



  • The latest Scottish figures have been released and 11 people have now contracted the COVID-19 Virus, an increase of five people. Areas of infection are; Tayside, Ayrshire & Arran, Forth Valley Greater Glasgow and Clyde, Grampian, Fife and Lothian.
  • A second man has reportadly  died due to the coronavirus, a man in his 80’s has passed away while being treated at Milton Keynes Hospital, Buckinghamshire


PAPER REVIEW- Owen Garner with what the papers are saying on the outbreak 


  • Prevention efforts to contain the COVID-19 virus are being made more difficult as Secretary of State for the United States Mike Pompeo has said that China had not been forthcoming initially on the COVID-19 virus.
  • Fraudsters are taking advantage of the COVID-19 outbreak, according to the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB). 21 cases have been identified where coronavirus has been mentioned in with a loss of over £800,000 in the UK.Advice issued by the Scottish Business Resilience Centre is: “Watch out for scam messages Don’t click on the links or attachments in suspicious emails, and never respond to unsolicited messages and calls that ask for your personal or financial details.”


Airlines have been burning thousands of gallons of fuel on ghost flights to keep flight slots amidst Coronavirus panic 

  • EU rules dictate that at least 80% of flights run by companies must be active  otherwise they risk losing out to competitors. This has led to companies running ghost flights to ensure they don’t suffer the consequences. Grant Shapps, the UK Transport Secretary, has said: ” I am particularly concerned that, in order to satisfy the 80/20 rule, airlines may be forced to fly aircraft at very low load factors, or even empty, in order to retain their slots.”
  • President Trump has come under fire as he has now cancelled his trip to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta even as the coronavirus outbreak escalates



Confirmed cases in Iran continue to rise

  • Iran has recorded an increase in confirmed coronavirus cases. The country recorded 1,234 new cases in the past 24 hours, bringing its total to 4,747.
  • Cameroon has confirmed its first case of the coronavirus, the country’s health ministry has said. It brings the number of confirmed cases in Africa to 29.
  • In California, around 3,500 people are being held on a cruise liner while tests for coronavirus are carried out on passengers. At least four passengers have been infected and one passenger has died on the ship, the Grand Princess. Military helicopters delivered test kits to the ship, which is docked off the coast of San Francisco.


In Italy, cases of coronavirus are above 3,000, with schools and universities closed for the next 10 days.

Daniele, a resident of San Donà di Piave in the north of Italy, spoke to EN4 News about the government measures.

“In Italy some people are panicking and are very worried about the situation. They are staying inside their homes and are avoiding all social contact. While there are other people who think there isn’t anything to worry about it and everything has been too exaggerated.

“We have a had a shut-down of schools and public places. I work in a cinema and it will be at least a month until we are able to open again. The Government have told us to always wash our hands and avoid being too close to people. There is a one-meter distance we are supposed to keep, at all costs.”


  • The total cases of COVID-19 has reached 100,000, according to BNO News.

  • England Netball have announced there are no plans to cancel upcoming fixtures. The team said in a statement: “We are aware that the coronavirus outbreak is a very fluid and rapidly changing situation. We are in regular contact with the relevant authorities and venues, franchises and all key partners and stakeholders to monitor the situation.”
  • Starbucks have temporarily banned reusable cups in an attempt to combat the coronavirus outbreak. Customers will still receive a 25p discount for bringing reusable cups with them, however, drinks will be served in disposable cups. It is understood Starbucks made the decision internally, rather than on the advice of health officials.



Herald health correspondent labels Scottish government “disingenuous” over Monday statement 

The Scottish Government said on Monday that a “reasonable worst case scenario” could see 50 to 80% of the population contract coronavirus.

However, Helen McCardle, health correspondent for The Herald, has told EN4 News that the figure “doesn’t really add up” and has suggested the Scottish Government has been “disingenuous” with its statement.

She told EN4 News’ Iain Leggat: “What I thought was unusual about that is that when you go away and you look at the latest figures from the World Health Organisation and you look at China, and Hubei province, which of course is the epicentre of it, and you calculate the number of cases they’ve had so far against the population and you end up with a rate of 0.1%.

“I spoke to a couple of experts, one of them being Hugh Pennington [emeritus professor of bacteriology at Aberdeen University], and another expert in data science from Edinburgh University, and the view of both of them is that what the Scottish Government was presenting wasn’t really realistic because it was based on the idea of there being no containment policies put in place.

“Of course if we get to the stage where we get hundreds of cases in Scotland, at that point of course there are going to be containment measures put in place. We’re going to consider closing schools, maybe changes to public transport, people working from home.

“So that’s why the 50-80% figure doesn’t really add up. The other side to that is that the Scottish Government are being a bit disingenuous about is they present that 50-80% figure and say we’re well equipped and well resourced in the NHS to cope with that, which we wouldn’t be.”

Listen to the interview in full below

  • #CoronaVirusChallenge is currently trending on the social media platform with thousands of people sharing humorous pictures and videos of issues relating to the COVID-19 outbreak. The posts include everything from bottles of corona with anti-virus masks on to people ‘feet-shaking’ as opposed to shaking hands.





  • The COVID-19 virus is nearing a total of 100,000 cases with the number of confirmed cases across the world standing at 98,782.
  • (Credit: EN4 News)


  • BRUNTSFIELD  Pharmacists Janette Currie and Yas Yousaf comment on the panic buying of sanitiser and bacterial deterrent items that have rendered their store empty. Ms Currie has said: ” People are panicking. Anything that they think is going to do the job, they are using it.” Mr Yousaf commented on the current situation saying:  “It’s been a challenging and demanding time for us to try and get the face masks in and explain that it’s really a case of observing good hygiene.”


The Vatican announces first coronavirus case

  • The Vatican has announced its first case of COVID-19 today just after 9:30am. The announcement comes shortly after Pope Francis tested negative for the virus earlier this week on Tuesday.
  • Bollywood awards ceremony has been called off due to COVID-19 fears. A second leading media industry event, The Frames conference is set to go ahead, but without Italian participation due to the spread of the virus. “We would like to inform you that Italy is not participating at FICCI Frames 2020 due to recent outbreak of Novel Coronavirus disease in Italy,” FICCI said in a statement.
  • Scotland is still in the containment phase, according to Chief Medical officer Dr Catherine Calderwood: “Where we are on the dial at the moment the switch is still in containment, very much in containment, and gradually that dial will move around to the delay phase.”
  • Updated Scotland Coronavirus figures to be revealed at 14:00 today, EN4 News will be covering the updated results by the Scottish Government in the studio.

  • 9:30 

    Edinburgh music festival cancelled 

    • The Edinburgh Harp Festival has been cancelled amid fears of the COVID-19 virus. The festival has also announced that ticket holders will be contacted in regard to purchases. A spokesman for the festival has said: ” We regret having to Ann

    • England prop Mako Vunipola has been reported by Sky’s Thomas Moore to be in the all clear for coronavirus, and did not need to leave the training camp ahead of the Wales game as Public Health England  tells England Rugby he has no symptoms.



    What’s the latest?

    To recap Thursday’s key developments:

          • A women in her 70s became the first person to die from coronavirus in the UK
          • First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said there are six confirmed cases of coronavirus in Scotland and expects numbers to rise “possibly very rapidly” in the coming days
          • Confirmed cases in Italy rose to over 3,000 as schools closed for a period of 10 days
          • Iran has closed its schools and universities until March 20
          • England’s Six Nations matches against Italy – scheduled to take place in Rome next weekend – have been postponed.
          • Britons have been urged by the  UK government to self isolate if they have been to any part of Italy in the past fortnight.


    Good morning

    Throughout the day EN4 News will be providing live updates, news and reports on the coronavirus outbreak.

New University of Edinburgh research recommends under-25s should not be sent to jail because their brains are too immature


People under the age of 25 should not be imprisoned because their brains are too immature, the leading author on new research has told EN4 News.

Professor Matthias Schwannauer, who is a professor of clinical psychology at the University of Edinburgh, said in his report, published today, that a custodial sentence heightens the risk for brain damage and makes adolescents less likely to rehabilitate than adults are.

The Scottish Sentencing Council (SSC) has announced a 12-week public consultation into whether under-25s should be imprisoned.

The consultation comes after research conducted by the University of Edinburgh on behalf of the SSC found that there were severe cognitive complications for incarcerating people under the age of 25.

The report found that the adult brain reaches maturity between 25-30 years old, which means it is not able to handle the stressful environment of prison.

“It’s really important for the courts to understand the developmental needs of young people… we need supportive programmes that are community-based,” Schwannauer told EN4 News.

“Putting people in prisons where there is a spike of drug use and self-harm is basically just putting further risk on the individual and their communities.

“I really hope Scotland can path the way to an alternative way in order to reduce future risk and societal cost.”

Support for this review and consultation has been backed by The Centre for Youth and Criminal Justice (CYCJ).

Spokeswoman Charlotte Morris said today that a CYCJ report found that 37% of youngsters are tried in adult court and don’t understand the process.

But Conservative MSP Murdo Fraser argued that there is a lot more work needed before alternatives to prison are considered.

He told EN4 News: “It’s difficult to see how reducing the number of people going to prison for committing serious offences is going to help protect the public or provide an effective deterrent from people in this age group committing very serious crime.”

“I think a lot more work needs to be done before we use community disposals as an alternative to prison for people in this age group,” Fraser concluded.

The SSC said in a statement: “The council’s hope and expectation is that it will bring long-term social and economic benefits,” an SSC statement read, “and by promoting reduced reoffending through greater emphasis on rehabilitation and increased use of the children’s hearings system.”

Gordon Brown slams Scottish Government on child poverty record

Former Prime Minister Gordon Brown has criticised the Scottish Government over their record on child poverty in the country.

One in four children in Scotland are currently living in poverty and an additional 130,000 are expected to be added to that number during the period of 2015-2028. Brown spoke out against the figures at an event in Edinburgh on Friday.

Mr Brown said: “Under current policies, the SNP will have 100,000 more children in poverty in 2023 than they promised and five years later by 2028, 250,000 more poor children than promised.”

The event aims to hear all voices for Scotland and to ask the community what kind of Scotland is to be built over the next ten years.

Mr Brown said: “Despite the turmoil of the last decade I still hope that Scotland’s future will be better inside the United Kingdom in some form, and that we can find a way forward that the vast majority of people in Scotland can support. It is time we listened to each other. The division cannot go on. We need to settle this.”

However, the SNP has responded back to Mr Brown by placing the blame back at the UK Tory government. The SNP say that cuts of £1.5 billion over a decade long period have meant that the issue has not been helped.

SNP spokesman Ms Campbell said: “The SNP Government is doing everything it can – under the financial and constitutional constraints that Gordon Brown ensured would be placed upon us – to tackle poverty and inequality in Scotland.”

Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) have also commented on the rise of child poverty in Scotland saying that the likelihood of poverty is only going to increase due to “the absence of significant policy change.”

The SNP has previously released a statement on child poverty saying that the government is taking action by using Scottish social security powers to support young families on low incomes. The Scottish Child payment will be introduced by 2022 for families with children aged under 16.

This will be a benefit paid monthly to support young families with qualifying benefits such as Universal Credit.

At the event, John Dickie of Child Poverty Action Group outlined the challenges that faced the Scottish Government but said that it was possible to be successful in reducing poverty. He outlined that in 2010/11 child poverty was reduced as a result of “real government commitment.”

Senior Economist Emma Congreve said that the Scottish government had to be more proactive.

“You have to do things, rather than say,” Ms Congreve said.

The Gorgie Farm bidding wars: The story so far

Edinburgh’s Gorgie Farm has been thrown a lifeline by two bidders, as the farm looks to have a new owner by the end of January. But what has led up to this point?

Gorgie Farm, one of the last urban farms in Scotland, broke many residents and employee’s hearts when the farm went into liquidation on November 1 2019.

The farm is, unfortunately, no stranger to financial difficulty. In 2016 the farm was under pressure to come up with the money to continue operating. In less than six weeks the farm managed to raise more than £100,000 which enabled the farm to continue to run.

Since 2016 costs of the farm have been steadily rising, but income to the farm has not been sufficient to keep the farms head above water.

In November, the Edinburgh Evening News reported that Gorgie Farm announced it had gone into liquidation and as a result 18 jobs were set to be lost. Livestock was to be sold for slaughter and pets were to be rehomed.

Gorgie City Farms Chairman George Elles at the time said: “We are sincerely grateful to all our staff who have worked tirelessly to provide much-needed services and an accessible amenity for the city, and to our volunteers who have been inspired by the opportunities and support we have been able to offer.”

On November 15 hope began to rise for the farm as ten charities and commercial organisations expressed their interest in buying the farm. On top of this positive news, a former employee of Gorgie Farm Hannah Ryan’s helped Gorgie City Farm’s go fund me page raise £72,000.

Leader of the City of Edinburgh Council, Adam McVey, praised the interest in Gorgie Farm saying: “Ten organisations coming forward, and the positive response to the crowdfunding initiative is a clear signal of just how much people across the city value the farm.”

Five days later a mystery £20,000 donation from a single anonymous donor brought the total of the go fund me closer to £100,000. This massive sum of money is set to be topped up by the council pledging £27,303 towards securing the long-term future of the Farm.

Green councillor Gavin Corbett says that the recent period at Gorgie farm has been “ a difficult time for staff and volunteers” and that there now appears to be “light on the horizon for the farm”.

In December, out of the 10 organisations that expressed interest the list was narrowed down to two prospective owners. The First was mental health charity ‘Love Learning’, who propose to turn the farm into a therapy petting farm.

The other Charity was ‘Cyrenians’, an organisation that works with people who are at risk of becoming homeless to get back on their feet. The organisation aims to help give people a chance to change their lives for the better.

In January ‘Cyrenians’ pulled out of the bid to become the new owner of Gorgie Farm. Now, the owner of the East Links Family Park, Grant Bell, has become a front runner against ‘Love Learning’ to become the new operator at Gorgie Farm.

Speaking to EN4 News Mr Bell said he wasn’t able to tell us much regarding his potential takeover as he is waiting for the council to make a further comment regarding progress being made on this new deal.

A decision as to who will be running Gorgie Farm is expected to be announced by the end of January.


Gorgie Farm key dates (Credit: Lewis Robertson)

“A city transformed” Edinburgh Council unveils radical mobility plan

Edinburgh Council has announced a 2030 vision for Edinburgh, as its new City Mobility Plan (CMP) looks to shake up transport in a quest to make the capital carbon neutral by 2030.

A three-stage plan released by the council reveals that the city will become more eco-friendly and efficient as part of its CMP. Priorities of the council include; enhancing public transport, the creation of people-friendly streets, new developments and becoming carbon neutral.

Chamber Street with ‘people friendly’ street change’s (Credit: Edinburgh Council)

The plan outlines three dates which projects are expected to be completed by. The first phase will conclude in 2022, expectations of this phase are that the tram to Newhaven which is currently under development will be largely complete. A systemic review of bus routes and times will come into place.

The introduction of a low emission zone (LEZ) which will help tackle Edinburgh’s congestion and pollution by only granting certain vehicles access to parts of the city.

The second phase in 2025 will see air pollution drop as part of the successful integration of LEZ, as bus congestion will have improved. A transit plan will have been largely agreed by this point. George Street will be completely transformed and discussions regarding Princes Street vehicle access will be addressed.

The new pedestrianised ‘George Street’ (Credit: Edinburgh Council)


The third phase, aptly named “A city transformed” shows that the mass tram network will have been finished. Reaching out from the airport to Newbridge, The Royal Infirmary and the waterfront in the north. The city centre “will be largely car-free, with the workplace parking levy reducing in revenue as car use to commute declines.”

Edinburgh Trams (Credit: Edinburgh Council)

And the “Waverly Masterplan” a plan to further develop Edinburgh Waverly will be fully implemented.

Speaking about the plans, Council Leader Adam McVey has said the council was making “great strides towards reducing carbon emissions” and emphasised that now was the time for bolder actions if the city was to achieve this carbon-neutral goal by 2030.

Addressing the major climate concerns Mr McVey said: “I’m confident that we’re doing the right things to help tackle the increasing threat of climate change but it’s clear that we need to act with even greater pace and urgency if we are to protect the city, while creating a greener, healthier, better-connected environment for generations to come.”

In a meeting on Thursday the Transport and Environment Committee met to discuss the draft CMP. Committee member Ian McFarlane said it was “critical that we [the committee] are radical” and that there was no option to “stand still”.

Ewan Kennedy, the Senior Manager of Transport Networks, said that Edinburgh is “undoubtedly one of the best transport cities in the country.” He further alluded to how the council needs to be proactive with the need to tackle climate change and that the committee and council were “committed” to this.

Stuart Hay, Director of Living Streets Scotland, said that it was “vital” for Edinburgh to match various European capitals in its quest to reduce its emissions. Discussing the increase in pedestrian activity and the reduction of vehicle access Mr Hay said: ”Creating space by removing traffic will need further development of Edinburgh’s well-regarded bus service and more strategic tram routes. Substantial investment is needed, so new funding sources such as the workplace parking levy are vital.”

Claire Miller, Green Councillor for the Edinburgh City Centre, said that optimism is our best bet in completing plans to become carbon neutral on time.


The draft will go to public consultation in February for 8 weeks to further develop the CMP.

Opinion: Edinburgh has the worst traffic congestion in the UK, it’s time for change

Edinburgh’s traffic congestion peaks during the Fringe and festive season (Credit: EN4 News)

It’s been less than four months since the calamitous mess of traffic congestion that was unleashed upon Edinburgh by the wrath of the Fringe, and now as the festive period is underway, very little has changed.

This year’s Fringe was the busiest the Scottish capital has ever experienced, with the Fringe website said that ‘three million tickets’ were issued alone in 2019.

The festival brought the city’s transportation network to its absolute limit with the Commercial Director of Lothian Buses, Nigel Serafini, admitting their services had been “operating in much more challenging conditions” than they had ever previously experienced.

Now the festive season is here, and it looks to bring gifts of delays, congestion, and packed buses.

At least the Christmas market is here for you to wander around when you are inevitably stranded on Princes Street.

An article by the Herald this year, explained that analysis by the sat nav manufacturer TomTom showed that Edinburgh rush hour takes 40% longer than the rest of the UK.

This gives Edinburgh the prized crown of being the worst UK city for traffic jams.

Now I have to make this point clear, this is not the fault of Lothian Buses by any means.

Instead, this is the repercussions of an ongoing issue that has some work put forward to fixing it.

It is showing that efforts by the council simply are not sufficient when coping with a mass influx of people.

Edinburgh Council’s transport strategy states: “Public transport plays an essential role in the life of Edinburgh. It enables access to employment, health care, education and leisure opportunities. Its efficient use of road space and fuel helps to reduce congestion and carbon dioxide emissions.”

It begs the question; how can you possibly expect to reduce carbon dioxide emissions when there has not been enough to reduce congestion?

Mr Serafini makes various points which are reasonable solutions to congestion problems.

He says: “We would also like to see a reduction in bus stops in some locations, for example, consolidating two bus stops into one central stop.”

We see this example on Princes Street all the time and even at the foot of Lothian Road, two bus stops in close proximity to each other when it is really not essential.

Mr Sefafini continues, “We then need to look at who and what has priority in the streets which remain open.”

This is a crucial point the council needs to address if we are ever going to see change.

If the same flow of traffic is allowed into a highly concentrated population of people over an intensely busy period of time, we will never see any change.

As the years go by, it is becoming increasingly frustrating to live within the city when the Fringe is on and when Christmas is approaching.

These should be times where the people should be excited and welcoming to these events without their lives being disrupted.

Instead, we are already seeing the effects of the festive period squeezing the city into a state of a “rush hour” paralysis that lasts two months.

Loose masonry in Edinburgh is home owners’ responsibility, says local stonemason

An Edinburgh stonemason has told EN4 News that the increase in falling masonry in the city is due to home owners not doing “proper maintenance”.

The Edinburgh Evening News reported this week that there were 179 reports of falling stonework from old tenement buildings in Edinburgh last year, with the number rising dramatically in recent years. Only 33 reports were made in 2008 regarding falling masonry, however within ten years there has been nearly 1,000 cases reported.

Edinburgh based IMC Masonry owner, Iain Mcarthur, also said that there is a longstanding issue with Edinburgh Council, accusing them of being “difficult to deal with”.

Edinburgh Evening News Editor Iain Pope tweet showing areas of where falling masonry was reported.
-Source Twitter @iainpope73

– Edinburgh criticised for inaccessible buildings

– Edinburgh Sick Kids Hospital has ‘thousands’ of issues

Edinburgh Council responded to the Evening News’ story on Twitter by saying that it is the property owner’s responsibility to maintain their masonry and that they “strongly advise” that home owners get their properties surveyed.

Conservative MSP Graham Simpson explained to the Evening News that Edinburgh has the highest number of listed buildings in Scotland.’ He explained that this meant that Edinburgh has ‘probably got the oldest property stock.’

The Evening News’ story prompted reaction on social media. One Facebook user said: “Everything gets left up on roofs from old aerials, cables to satellite dishes just dumped it’s a ticking time bomb however trying to convince home owners to agree and take action especially shared repairs is hard.”

Edinburgh Council added: “Please note we will make safe buildings that are in a dangerous condition and pose a threat to public safety.”

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