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A new mobile phone app has launched to help tackle the disproportionate number of ethnic minority people affected by Covid-19.
Stay Safe Scotland has been developed by academics at University of the West of Scotland (UWS) in partnership with the Council of Ethnic Minority Voluntary Sector Organisations (CEMVO) Scotland, with contributory funding from the Scottish Government and Comic Relief.
According to the Office for National Statistics, ethnic minority communities have been disproportionately affected by Covid-19, with people from Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) backgrounds representing around 15.5% of all deaths connected to the virus (Jun 2020).
Developed by a team led by Dr Muhammad Zeeshan Shakir from the University’s School of Computing, Engineering and Physical Sciences, the app seeks to overcome some of the major barriers faced by ethnic minority communities in Scotland by providing crucial public health information on social distancing, hand washing and self-isolation in a variety of different languages.
It also provides footfall data at nearly 100 supermarkets throughout Scotland to help users schedule visits at quieter times, and to avoid queuing and overcrowding.
UWS’s Dr Shakir said: “Stay Safe Scotland is an important development in the country’s response to the coronavirus pandemic. The app will provide an accessible platform which will ensure that no communities are left behind, providing information on the latest guidance in a variety of formats to help people stay safe and make the right choices as we continue to navigate the pandemic.”
Colin Lee, Chief Executive of CEMVO Scotland, said: “We are delighted to be launching this mobile app in partnership with UWS, with the knowledge that it will help many ethnic minority people to be alert to high footfalls at supermarkets and in the process, to keep safe and protected during this pandemic.”
Christina McKelvie MSP, Minister for Older People and Equalities, said: “I am painfully aware that the disproportionate impact of Covid-19 on some of our minority ethnic communities has caused, and continues to cause, real distress.
“The Scottish Government is determined to do whatever we can to address that and ensure everyone has access to the information and advice they need to keep themselves safe. That’s why innovations like this new app are so important, and I hope it will be of real, practical use to many of our minority ethnic communities.”
Stay Safe Scotland is currently available for Android devices, and can be downloaded for free through Google Play.
Advice on safe and enjoyable celebrations
Families and children are being urged to avoid guising this Halloween to minimise the risk of spreading Coronavirus (COVID-19).
Deputy First Minister John Swinney says the move is necessary to ensure people stay within the current restrictions on indoor and outdoor gatherings.
Advice on the Parent Club website suggests ways for families to have a safe Halloween at home including ideas around party games, fancy dress and storytelling.
For Bonfire Night, the advice includes guidelines around group sizes, distancing and FACTS precautions to reduce the temptation for people to hold gatherings and firework displays in their back gardens.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak has unveiled increased support for jobs and workers hit by Covid restrictions. Across the UK, the Job Support Scheme, for companies that are allowed to remain open, will no longer require a worker to do at least a third of normally contracted hours. That comes down to a fifth – so it could be one day a week.
Those worked hours are paid by the employer. But for the unworked hours, the UK government has stepped up its funding, requiring the employer to contribute 5%. Previously, that share was a third of unworked hours.
As a result, every worker on the scheme should earn at least 73% of normal earnings.
Scotland has recorded 1,303 new coronavirus infections in the past 24 hours.
The daily statistics from the Scottish government showed the most affected health boards were Greater Glasgow and Clyde with 437 new cases and Lanarkshire with 341 new cases.
Lothian had 155 infections and Ayrshire and Arran recorded 132 new cases.
The death of one more person who had tested positive for the virus has been registered.
However, register offices are now generally closed at weekends.
The number of new cases represents 19% of newly tested individuals.
The daily update showed that 86 people were in intensive care with recently confirmed Covid-19 on Saturday, that is two more than the previous day. And a total of 1,016 people were in hospital, an increase of 31.
Of the 18,026 new tests carried out that reported results, 7.9% of these were positive.
The death toll under the measure of people who first tested positive for the virus within the previous 28 days has risen to 2,700.
A new mobile phone app to help reduce the disproportionate number of Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) people affected by Covid-19 is being designed by a team of Scottish academics.