November 30, 2020

UK coronavirus live: Hancock to consider using rapid-result tests for people told to self-isolate

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Sturgeon says three Scottish council areas facing tougher Covid restrictions

No local authority in Scotland has been put into the highest tier of Covid restrictions – with rules similar to England’s current lockdown – as Nicola Sturgeon announced her first weekly review of the new five-level system that came into force on 2 November.

Sturgeon told the Holyrood parliament it was “not prudent” to ease any restrictions today, and that the majority of local authorities would see no immediate change.

Most council areas in central Scotland were initially placed in level three, with much of the rest of the country in level two and a few rural councils across the Highlands and Islands in level one.

Sturgeon also announced that Shetland, Orkney and the Western Isles, will be able to meet with one other household indoors up to a maximum of six people. She said that this was because cases there were “very low and sporadic”, and “we recognise social isolation is exacerbated in island communities where there are not as many public places to meet”.

Three local authority areas – Fife, Perth and Kinross, and Angus – are moved from level 2 to level 3. Sturgeon said that infection rates in all three areas were on “a sharply rising trajectory” and her advice was that level 2 restrictions were not sufficient to reverse that.

“I know how disappointing this will be to residents and businesses in these areas,” she said. She added that there were growing concerns about rates in Inverclyde and Stirling too.

Citing a levelling out of infection rates and a fall in hospital admissions, Sturgeon said nobody should be in doubt that restrictions were having effect. She went on:

While we have seen a levelling off we have not yet seen a sustained fall in cases. Clearly that requires continued caution. A rising or even plateauing rate of infection is not a stable position.

Describing the latest vaccine news as “extremely encouraging”, she said “we’re not at the end of the tunnel but a glimmer of light has appeared.”

Nicola Sturgeon.

Nicola Sturgeon. Photograph: WPA/Getty Images

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School attendance in England has improved, according to the latest official figures which show that fewer schools had pupils at home because of Covid-19 last week as the country entered the second lockdown.

There had been concerns attendance might drop if parents decided to keep children at home as the new national restrictions came into force last Thursday, but were figures were up on the week before half-term.

Around 4% of pupils did not attend class for Covid-19 related reasons on 5 November, according to Department for Education statistics.

Around 16% of schools had one or more pupils self-isolating, compared with 21% on 15 October, with secondary schools once again worse affected that primaries (38% v 11%).

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Full list of English council areas getting weekly supplies of rapid-result tests

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