Most Of UK Revises COVID-19 Travel Lists Amid Rising Case Fears

Prime Minister Boris Johnson will on Monday unveil a plan to lift most if not all of England’s pandemic restrictions from July 19, as he urged the public to “learn to live with” the coronavirus. (Photo by DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS / POOL / AFP)

 

 

England and Scotland revised their COVID-19 travel rules on Wednesday, placing greater restrictions on travellers arriving from Spain’s Balearic Islands over fears of rising case numbers.

The Department of Transport in London said after a “sharp rise in cases”, the decision had been taken to move the Balearic Islands as well as the British Virgin Islands to England’s “amber” list — the middle-ranking for Covid-19 incidence.

The Scottish government, which sets its own transport policy, announced it would be making the same changes.

Under the “amber” restrictions, which will come into force after 4:00 am (0300 GMT) on July 19, travellers will have to isolate themselves at home when they arrive in the UK.

However, changes that come into effect on the same day mean those who have had both Covid vaccines as part of the UK’s innoculation campaign will not have to isolate after they return.

The Spanish islands, which include Ibiza, Menorca, Majorca and Formentera, were only moved to the UK’s green list at the end of June.

“Unfortunately when we put them on the green watch list from then we’ve seen the rates double, and also the rates of positivity of these tests double, meaning that we’re going to have to move quickly.” Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said.

 

A passenger wears a face-mask as a Covid-19 protective measure as she travels on a bus in central London on July 14, 2021. – London Mayor Sadiq Khan on Wednesday called for use of face coverings to remain compulsory on public transport in the British capital after government plans to relax Covid curbs begin on July 19. (Photo by JUSTIN TALLIS / AFP)

 

Revisions in restrictions were also announced for Bulgaria, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Croatia which have been moved to the “green” watch list, the lowest ranking for Covid cases, which means travellers do not have to isolate in the UK but still have to test for Covid before and after arrival.

Cuba, Indonesia, Myanmar and Sierra Leone will be added to the “red” list from July 19, with the strictest travel measures imposed, meaning those who have departed from or transited through the countries will be refused entry.

British and Irish citizens or UK residents must quarantine in a government-approved hotel for 10 days when returning from red-list countries.

No Scotland Independence Vote Before 2024, Says UK Minister

Britain’s Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster Michael Gove walks through Downing Street in central London on September 22, 2020 to attend the weekly meeting of the cabinet. (Photo by JUSTIN TALLIS / AFP)

 

Scotland will not be given a new referendum on independence before 2024, a senior UK cabinet minister said in an interview published on Wednesday.

Cabinet Office Minister Michael Gove, who heads a UK government strategy unit on policy for the country’s four nations, said a vote was unlikely in the immediate future.

“I can’t see it,” Gove, a Scot, told the Daily Telegraph when asked if Prime Minister Boris Johnson would approve the move before the next scheduled UK general election.

“It’s foolish to talk about a referendum now — we’re recovering from Covid,” he added.

“It seems to me to be at best reckless, at worst folly, to try to move the conversation on to constitutional division when people expect us to be working together in order to deal with these challenges.”

Renewed calls for a vote on Scottish independence are a potential headache for Johnson, despite a 2014 referendum which saw Scots voted by 55 percent to 45 percent to remain part of the UK.

READ ALSO: Warren Buffett To Resign As Trustee From Gates Foundation

After the result, Johnson called the referendum a once-in-a-generation event.

But Scottish National Party leader, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, reopened the debate after the 2016 referendum on UK membership of the European Union.

Scots in that vote opted by a majority to stay part of the bloc, with Sturgeon arguing that Scotland was being forced out against its will.

Brexit changed the constitutional relationship of Scotland with the rest of the UK, she said, and has since promised a new referendum on going it alone by late 2023.

She said the strong SNP showing at the last elections for the devolved parliament in Edinburgh in May gives a democratic mandate for a new referendum.

The SNP is backed by the Scottish Greens in support for a referendum.

But Sturgeon has promised to tackle the coronavirus pandemic as a priority.

She dismissed Gove’s comments as “sneering, arrogant condescension” and a refusal “to accept Scottish democracy”, which she said only bolsters the pro-independence cause.

London, which under the Scotland Act must transfer powers to hold a referendum to Edinburgh, needed to accept the democratic choices made in Scotland last month.

“If that can’t even be respected, then the idea that the UK is a partnership of equals just completely disintegrates,” she added.

AFP

COVID-19: Scotland To Impose Lockdown For The Rest Of January

A pedestrian walks past a display of facemasks, being sold due to the COVID-19 pandemic, in Glasgow on September 2, 2020, after the Scottish government imposed fresh restrictions on the city after a rise in cases of the novel coronavirus. (Photo by Andy Buchanan / AFP)

 

Scotland is to impose a nationwide coronavirus lockdown for the rest of January because of a surge in cases, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced on Monday.

“We have decided to introduce from midnight (0000 GMT Tuesday), for the duration of January, a legal requirement to stay at home, except for essential purposes,” she told the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh.

“This is similar to the lockdown of March last year.”

READ ALSO: 13 Things To Know About COVID-19 Vaccination

Sturgeon, the leader of the pro-independence Scottish National Party (SNP), said a new faster-spreading variant of coronavirus, first identified in the UK in December had been a “massive blow” in the battle against the virus.

She said the evidence was “compelling” that “the new variant already accounts for almost half of all new cases in Scotland”.

“We are now seeing a steeply rising trend of infections and it is no exaggeration to say that I am more concerned about the situation we face now than I have been at any time since March,” she added.

A sign is placed on a wall at the sports hall of the University of St. Andrews, where a mass later-flow COVID-19 test centre has been set up for students currently not displaying any symptoms of coronavirus, in St. Andrews, eastern Scotland on November 27, 2020, to determine if the students are able to travel home for the Christmas break. Andy Buchanan / AFP

 

 

The move by the devolved government will heap fresh pressure on UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson to follow suit, given pressures on health services from the new variant.

The announcement came as Britain began rolling out a new Covid vaccine developed by the drug manufacturer AstraZeneca and Oxford University.

Some 530,000 doses are to be administered at new vaccination sites across the country, adding to those already giving the Pfizer-BioNTech jab since early last month.

As he promised tens of millions would be vaccinated by March, Johnson told Sky News the infection rate would force further tightening of anti-virus restrictions in England.

“If you look at the numbers, there’s no question that we will have to take tougher measures and we will be announcing them in due course,” the prime minister said.

Sturgeon told Scottish MPs at Holyrood the new vaccine rollout was “hugely positive” and it was “essential to speed up vaccination as fast as possible”.

The spread of the virus had to be halted, which was why “even tougher restrictions are necessary”, she added.

AFP

5,000-Year-Old Great Pyramid Artefact Found In Scotland

A handout picture released by the University of Aberdeen on December 16, 2020. (Photo by UNIVERSITY OF ABERDEEN / AFP)

 

One of only three artefacts ever recovered from inside Egypt’s Great Pyramid has been found in a misplaced cigar tin in a Scottish university collection, academics revealed on Wednesday.

The fragment of cedar wood, which has been found to date back 5,000 years to the building of the pyramid at Giza, was first discovered in the late 19th century but had been missing for more than 70 years.

A record discovered in 2001 appeared to show the fragment — found alongside a ball and a bronze hook thought to be used for construction — had been donated to the University of Aberdeen.

But the trail ran cold and the ancient artefact disappeared almost without a trace until the end of last year when an assistant curator at the university, Abeer Eladany, originally from Egypt, made a chance discovery in its Asia collection.

Knowing that a small cigar tin she found there bearing an old Egyptian flag did not belong with the other pieces, she cross-referenced it with other records.

“It has been like finding a needle in a haystack,” Eladany said after discovering the fragment of wood among hundreds of thousands of items.

“I’m an archaeologist and have worked on digs in Egypt but I never imagined it would be here in northeast Scotland that I’d find something so important to the heritage of my own country.”

The fragment — initially measuring five inches or around 13 centimetres but now in several pieces — was first discovered in the Great Pyramid’s Queen’s Chamber in 1872 by engineer Waynman Dixon.

READ ALSO: WHO Urges Use Of Masks During Christmas Celebration

It made its way to the Scottish city because of a link between Dixon and a medical doctor named James Grant who studied in Aberdeen and went to Egypt to treat cholera in the mid-1860s.

More evidence that the lost piece of wood, as well as the other items known as the “Dixon relics”, could have been used in the construction of the Great Pyramid has come to light following modern tests on the artefact.

Carbon dating results, delayed by coronavirus restrictions, placed the wood at somewhere between 3341 and 3094 BC, long before the construction of the pyramid.

This supports the theory the items were left behind by builders rather than by later explorers.

Neil Curtis, head of museums and special collections at the University of Aberdeen, called results from the carbon dating a “revelation”.

“This discovery will certainly reignite interest in the Dixon relics and how they can shed light on the Great Pyramid,” he added.

What Brexit Means For EU Students At UK Universities

An official hangs a Union Jack next to an European Union flag at EU Headquarters in Brussels on October 17, 2019, ahead of a European Union Summit on Brexit. Kenzo TRIBOUILLARD / AFP

 

The end of the Brexit transition period on December 31 will introduce new rules for European Union students who want to study in Britain during the 2020-21 academic year.

– What is the current situation? –

The situation for an estimated 150,000 EU students has been unchanged during the transition period to December 31, as the UK and EU try to agree terms of their new relationship.

Currently, EU students have “home fee status”, which means they pay the same level of tuition fees as UK counterparts, depending where the university is.

Education policy is set by devolved governments in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, with the UK government responsible for England. As a result, tuition fees vary.

In England, Wales and Northern Ireland, students with home fee status can be charged up to £9,250 ($12,400, 10,250 euros) per year for an undergraduate degree.

READ ALSO: Mass Evacuation In Frankfurt As WWII Bomb Is Defused

Scottish or EU undergraduates studying in Scotland are not charged.

EU students are eligible to apply for a student loan to cover tuition fees.

Ireland has separate arrangement with the UK under a reciprocal agreement.

– What happens on January 1? –

All EU citizens have to apply for residency status under the Settlement Scheme, which grants the right to live and study in UK when new immigration rules kick in.

Students who start a degree course at some point in the 2020/21 academic year and arrive in the UK by December 31 will still have home fee status.

New students arriving after this date will need a student visa that costs about £350 if they are studying in the UK for more than six months.

They will also have to pay a surcharge of about £500 per year to use the state-run National Health Service (NHS).

– What happens in the next academic year?

Across the UK, EU students starting courses after August 1, 2021 look set to pay higher international tuition fees and not be allowed to get UK student loans.

– How much will they have to pay? –

According to the Times Higher Education (THE) magazine, undergraduate tuition fees for an international student in 2020 were between £10,000 and £26,000 a year.

A longer undergraduate medical degree can cost foreign students nearly £59,000.

Undergraduate degrees in the UK typically require three years of study.

Average student debt was £27,000 this year, according to the THE, but that does not include repayment of maintenance loans to cover living costs.

Together, this can total between £35,000 and £40,000.

– What is not known or agreed yet? –

London and Brussels have yet to strike a deal on their future relationship.

It remains unclear if Britain will continue to participate in EU academic programmes such as Erasmus+ and Horizon Europe beyond the end of this academic year.

The UK government has set out guidelines for EU students to apply for student visas.

But there is uncertainty about whether students who have already gained settled or pre-settled status in the UK will be able to pay home status tuition fees for courses starting in 2021-22.

Because of the coronavirus outbreak, which has forced a suspension of face-to-face tuition and travel restrictions, many overseas students are studying remotely outside the UK.

If they do not visit the UK this year, it is not clear if they can still qualify for pre-settled status.

AFP

Scotland Begins Student COVID-19 Tests Before Christmas

A sign is placed on a wall at the sports hall of the University of St. Andrews, where a mass later-flow COVID-19 test centre has been set up for students currently not displaying any symptoms of coronavirus, in St. Andrews, eastern Scotland on November 27, 2020, to determine if the students are able to travel home for the Christmas break.
Andy Buchanan / AFP

 

 

As an unusual term comes to a close and Christmas holidays draw closer, students at the University of St Andrews in Scotland filed in and out of a sports hall that has been transformed into a mass coronavirus testing centre.

“It’s a huge piece of mind just to be able to go home and be with my family, knowing that everything is safe,” Fiona Waddell, a 19-year-old psychology student said before the centre opens for testing on Saturday.

“We’re lucky enough that we are able to be together at Christmas and I just don’t want anything to compromise that,” she told AFP.

The centuries-old university on Scotland’s northeast coast has set up the centre as part of a rollout of Covid-19 tests for students across Scotland before the end of the term.

The facility, where students self-test with one of the million lateral flow test kits that have been provided to Scotland by the UK government, has the capacity for 1,500 students each day.

It will remain open until December 18 with students who plan to return home for the festive break asked to take two tests three days apart.

The UK government in London, which sets health policy for England, and the devolved administrations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have unveiled plans to allow students to return home for Christmas.

All want to minimise the chance of spreading the virus as they travel.

Students in England and Wales have been asked to return home during a week-long travel window after taking coronavirus tests.

In Scotland, a staggering return is planned across the seven-day window.

 

READ ALSO: Germany Hits One Million Cases As Russia Links Up With India For Vaccine

 

– ‘Good opportunity’ –

Alastair Merrill, vice-principal for governance at St Andrew’s, said the asymptomatic testing initiative meant when students returned home they can “keep their families and communities safe when they do so”.

Results from the lateral flow tests are shown within 30 minutes and processed and sent to students within 24 hours.

A survey by the St Andrews Students’ Association found some 80 per cent of students are planning to go home for the holidays.

Rebecca Clunie, a 22-year-old chemistry student, who swabbed her throat and the back of her nose to self-administer the test, said taking the test earlier meant she could self-isolate before going home — if that was necessary.

“Even if it is positive I’ve still got time to self-isolate before I have to go home,” she explained.

Anna-Ruth Cockerham, 20-year-old studying mathematics, said it was going to be good to get home after a term where social interaction had been limited because of the virus.

“I think as well many students, myself included, haven’t had the opportunity to really mix with other people so to be able to go home and see your family is a good opportunity,” she added.

-AFP

Scotland’s Stuart Armstrong Tests Positive For COVID-19, Tierney, Christie To Self-Isolate

File Photo of Stuart Armstrong and Kieran Tierney

 

Scottish football chiefs have announced that Stuart Armstrong, Kieran Tierney and Ryan Christie will miss Thursday’s European Championship play-off semi-final against Israel after Armstrong tested positive for coronavirus.

The Scottish Football Association said the Southampton midfielder had returned a negative test for Covid-19 on Monday but a supplementary UEFA test returned a positive result.

“Stuart will self-isolate for 10 days from the date of the test — Tuesday, 6 October — and will now be unavailable for the forthcoming international matches,” the FA said in a statement.

All other members of the squad returned negative tests but the FA said two players and two members of the backroom staff had been identified as close contacts.

“As a consequence, Kieran Tierney and Ryan Christie, along with one physiotherapist and one masseur, will require to self-isolate for 14 days as of yesterday (Tuesday), and will also miss the forthcoming matches,” the statement said.

It means all three players will also miss Nations League matches against Slovakia and the Czech Republic.

Tierney will also miss Arsenal’s trip to Manchester City on October 17, while Celtic midfielder Christie will be absent for the first Old Firm game in 10 months against Rangers on the same day.

Scotland boss Steve Clarke said: “While this is obviously disappointing news, the most important thing is the health and safety of the individuals involved and the wider group.”

He added: “We have informed the respective clubs from whom we have borrowed the players and backroom staff and we now have to prepare for a huge match ahead tomorrow.”

If Scotland beat Israel at Hampden Park, they would play Norway or Serbia in November for a place at next year’s postponed Euros

-AFP

Scotland Launches App To Track COVID-19 Cases

A Swiss soldiers holds his smartphone showing an app, created by the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne (EPFL) that could help trace those who have been in close contact with someone who tested positive for the COVID-19. Fabrice COFFRINI / AFP
FILE: A Swiss soldiers holds his smartphone showing an app, created by the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne (EPFL) that could help trace those who have been in close contact with someone who tested positive for the COVID-19. Fabrice COFFRINI / AFP

 

Scotland on Thursday launched a smartphone app for tracking coronavirus cases using technology developed by Apple and Google, while neighbouring England is still struggling to roll out its own troubled version.

The “Protect Scotland” app, developed by the UK nation’s National Health Service (NHS), adopts the decentralised approach offered by the US tech giants to help fight the spread of Covid-19.

It alerts app users if they have been in close contact with another user who tests positive for the virus, and helps trace their other contacts “while keeping your information private and anonymous”, Scotland’s devolved government said.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon urged Scots to adopt the tool, stressing it was “confidential” and users would be notified “anonymously”.

“There’s a new way to help fight COVID in Scotland,” she said on Twitter.

“Please download, and let’s all protect Scotland.”

The rollout contrasts with the situation in England, where the effort by the UK government in Westminster to develop its own app has been bedevilled by problems.

In an embarrassing U-turn in June, it was forced to abandon the release of the tool nationwide after it encountered major problems with its more centralised approach.

Officials switched to the Apple and Google technology, and needed several months of further troubleshooting before trials could begin with the latest version of the app in parts of England.

Britain has been the worst-hit country in Europe by Covid-19, recording nearly 42,000 deaths according to government statistics, and has seen positive cases spike dramatically in the last week.

 

AFP

Investigators Probe Deadly Scottish Train Crash

 

Investigators were seeking answers Thursday over why a train derailed in northeast Scotland, killing the driver, conductor and a passenger.

The 06:38 am passenger service from Aberdeen to Glasgow came off the tracks on Wednesday morning near the town of Stonehaven, which had been hit by flooding following heavy rain.

Six people were hospitalised with minor injuries and police said the train had fortunately not been busy, with media reports saying just 12 people were on board.

Aberdeen is subject to tighter coronavirus restrictions than the rest of Scotland due to a localised outbreak of COVID-19, with people advised not to travel to the city.

Government ministers were due to visit the site on Thursday and investigators are already picking through the debris, including the ashes of a fire that left four firefighters with minor injuries.

A landslip had been reported close to where the train derailed at 09:43 am (0843 GMT), and Prime Minister Boris Johnson was among those to suggest the weather might have played a part.

“It’s probably a very good idea to look at the effect of substantial rainfall on all our vulnerable infrastructure everywhere,” he told Sky News on Wednesday.

“And as I understand there was about a month’s worth of rainfall in a very short period which undoubtedly aggravated the problem there.”

However, he said it was up to investigators to determine what caused Britain’s first major derailment for 13 years and vowed to “make sure nothing like this happens again”.

Queen Elizabeth II, who is staying in her Scottish home of Balmoral around 50 miles away from Stonehaven, sent her condolences.

Scotland’s Transport Secretary Michael Matheson said he would meet members of the emergency services in Stonehaven, saying they had faced “significant challenges” at the site.

He told BBC Radio Scotland that changing weather patterns posed difficulties across the railways.

“The rail networks are experiencing increasing challenges across different parts of the routes, not just here in Scotland but across the UK, due to what is an increasing number of very intense localised weather events that have a significant impact on the infrastructure,” he said.

Britain’s last major rail derailment was in 2007 in Cumbria, in northwest England, which left one passenger dead and 30 others injured.

 

-AFP

Celtic Crowned Scottish Champions Amid COVID-19 Interruption

 In this file photo taken on November 28, 2019 Celtic's Scottish head coach Neil Lennon (L) congratulates Celtic's Scottish midfielder Scott Brown (R) as he comes off during the UEFA Europa League group E football match between Celtic and Rennes at Celtic Park stadium in Glasgow, Scotland. ANDY BUCHANAN / AFP
In this file photo taken on November 28, 2019, Celtic’s Scottish head coach Neil Lennon (L) congratulates Celtic’s Scottish midfielder Scott Brown (R) as he comes off during the UEFA Europa League group E football match between Celtic and Rennes at Celtic Park stadium in Glasgow, Scotland. ANDY BUCHANAN / AFP

 

Celtic were crowned champions for a record-equalling ninth consecutive season as the Scottish Premiership campaign was declared over on Monday.

Neil Lennon’s men were 13 points clear at the top of the table when the season was stopped due to the coronavirus pandemic in March with eight games remaining for the majority of clubs.

Second-placed Rangers had a game in hand to try and cut that gap and were due to face Celtic twice more before the end of the season.

A points-per-game formula for determining final league placings also sees bottom club Hearts relegated unless there is any progress in talks over league reconstruction.

“It is, of course, a real shame that we were not able to see out the league in front of our fans. However, no one can deny how deserved this title is,” said Celtic chief executive Peter Lawwell.

“While we rightly celebrate this fantastic, deserved achievement we must take time to consider the wider circumstances we have all been experiencing and remember those who have helped us through these unique and challenging times with such bravery and selflessness.

“We dedicate this title to everyone who has cared for us and all those who have been affected by these times of challenge and difficulty.”

The three leagues below the Premiership were ended over a month ago when clubs passed a controversial resolution that allowed the Scottish Professional Football League (SPFL) board to also bring the top flight to a halt if it deemed the games could no longer be played.

Last week Rangers failed to gain the support of the 42 member clubs for an independent inquiry into how the vote on the resolution was passed.

Prize money to be released

Premiership clubs agreed on Friday that finishing the season was no longer a realistic option.

Scottish clubs will not be allowed to return to training until June 10 at the earliest.

The cost of testing and the fact a high percentage of players will be out of contract in May and June were also highlighted by clubs as reasons why making a return to finishing the campaign was impractical.

“The SPFL has today announced that, following consultation with all 12 top-flight clubs, the Board of the SPFL has determined that the 2019/20 Premiership has been concluded with immediate effect,” the league said in a statement.

By calling the season to an end, the SPFL can now release a final instalment of prize money to clubs based on their league position.

“On Friday, Premiership clubs expressed their clear and unanimous view that there was no realistic prospect of completing the outstanding fixtures from season 2019/20,” said SPFL chief executive Neil Doncaster.

“The SPFL board met this morning and in line with the express agreement of member clubs in April, the board determined that League season 2019/20 and the Premiership be brought to an end.

“This decision now enables us to pay out around £7 million ($8.5 million) in fees to help clubs stay afloat during this incredibly difficult time.”

Leagues in France, Belgium and the Netherlands have also called their seasons to a premature end.

However, many more across Europe are hoping to follow the example of Germany’s Bundesliga, which has already returned behind closed doors and with a series of strict safety measures in place to protect players and staff.

PHOTOS: Buhari Visits Prince Of Wales

 

President Buhari has visited the Prince of Wales, Prince Charles.

The President visited the monarch in Scotland.

This visit comes on the sidelines of the Uk-Africa Summit.

Below are some photos from the meeting between the President and the Prince.

READ ALSO: ‘Igbos Cannot Produce President By Just Complaining’ – The Week In Quotes

Japan Will Be ‘Tough To Beat’ At World Cup, Says Scotland’s Townsend

Scotland’s head coach Gregor Townsend awaits the start of the Japan 2019 Rugby World Cup Pool A match between Japan and Scotland at the International Stadium Yokohama in Yokohama on October 13, 2019.
William WEST / AFP

 

Japan are a quality side that will be very tough to beat at the Rugby World Cup, Scotland coach Gregor Townsend said Sunday after his side crashed out with a 28-21 defeat by the Brave Blossoms.

The result saw Japan defy 50/1 odds to go unbeaten in Pool A and set up a mouth-watering quarter-final against South Africa in Tokyo next weekend.

Scotland, however, face an early flight home after missing out to Six Nations rivals Ireland for the pool’s runners-up spot.

“We’re disappointed, we obviously look at the game from how we play and we weren’t able to win by more than eight points,” said Townsend.

“We started well in attack and defence but didn’t see ball for the rest of half.”

Finn Russell opened the scoring with a try, but the hosts, roared on by a capacity crowd at International Stadium Yokohama, hit back with three first-half tries before withstanding a Scottish fightback in the second period.

“At 58 minutes we were seven points behind, but we didn’t do enough to get the win,” lamented Townsend.

“We came here with high aspirations and getting out of the pool was stage one of that.

“We’ve worked hard to go further than tonight.”

Townsend insisted that the on-off build-up to the match, in light of the deadly Typhoon Hagibis that swept through eastern Japan overnight, had not been behind Scotland’s failure to reach the quarter-finals for only the second time in their history.

“It was going to be a challenge with the team we were playing, our (four-day) turnaround,” the Scotland coach said.

“The players are professional. We always believed that the game would go ahead.”

‘Take It On The Chin’

Townsend added: “It’s always a good indication of where the players are with energy when they start and they started well, and then we made a couple of errors, and we gave Japan the ball and they made the most of that.

“I’m proud of the effort, but we need to be more accurate in the final 20 minutes. We had an opportunity to win tonight and we didn’t take it.”

Townsend praise the Japan team as a “very cohesive group”.

“You can tell they’ve been together for a long time and they know the game they play, they play to their strengths… a fast game.

“They have some really good players, ball-carriers in the forwards and some players (in the backs) with real pace and confidence right now.”

Japan play South Africa next weekend and Townsend predicted a tough battle for the two-time champion Springboks.

“They’ll be a tough team to beat, that’ll be a tough game for South Africa,” he said.

Scotland skipper Greg Laidlaw insisted that Japan had “never caught us off-guard as such”.

“We started the game fairly well, switched off and let Japan into the game.

“We’re disappointed as a group because we had aspirations. They scored 28 points against us tonight and we’ve got to take that on the chin.”