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Face coverings in schools, 2 Sisters outbreak and test booking issues: Key points from today’s coronavirus briefing by Nicola Sturgeon

© Fraser Bremner/Scottish Daily Mail/PA WireFirst Minister Nicola Sturgeon
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon

Nicola Sturgeon has responded to a number of issues in today’s coronavirus daily briefing.

The First Minister provided an update on the outbreak in Tayside linked to the 2 Sisters food plant, as well as issues over the weekend encountered by people booking tests.

She also spoke about the new guidance on face coverings in schools, as well as giving the daily figures.

Here’s what was covered.

Face coverings in schools

Face coverings should be worn by staff and pupils when moving around secondary schools in Scotland from next Monday, the Scottish Government has confirmed.

The rule will apply on school transport for primary school pupils aged five and above, and all those at secondary school, but not in classrooms.

The changes come into effect from August 31 but Scotland’s Education Secretary John Swinney has stressed pupils will not be excluded from school if they do not wear a face covering.

The daily figures

A total of 44 people in Scotland have tested positive for Covid-19 in the past 24 hours, 0.8% of those tested.

That brings the total number who have tested positive is now 19,921.

Ms Sturgeon said of those who tested positive, 243 were in hospital, down five in 24 hours.

Of these, one was in intensive care, no change from the previous day.

There was no increase in the number of people who have died within 28 days of a positive test – this remains at 2,492.

2 Sisters outbreak

Of the 44 new coronavirus cases in the past 24 hours, provisional figures indicate seven are in Tayside where there is an outbreak at the 2 Sisters food processing factory in Coupar Angus.

Ms Sturgeon said that she expects cases linked this outbreak to rise in the coming days after the latest figures released on Monday indicated 152 positive cases – 134 factory workers and 18 contacts.

She also addressed the Aberdeen cluster saying cases have increased by two from Monday to 261.

“I want to stress, in relation to all of these outbreaks that we’re dealing with just now, and indeed the situation with schools, we are not unduly concerned by any of these situations right at this moment,” the First Minister said.

“That said, we’re not complacent either. As you’ll appreciate, we continue to monitor all cases, clusters and outbreaks very, very closely indeed.”

Testing issues

A “major spike in demand” for coronavirus testing over the weekend caused problems for people trying to book tests, Nicola Sturgeon has said.

She suggested that a UK-wide surge in people attempting to get tested for Covid-19 was responsible for the “technical issues”.

Ms Sturgeon said: “Over the weekend, there was a major spike in demand for testing – not just in Scotland, but we think across the UK.

“That led to some constraints on the booking portal throughout the day yesterday and that, in turn, resulted in a surge of calls to our Covid-19 helpline.

“I know this will have been frustrating for people trying to book a test so I want to thank everyone for bearing with us as we’ve worked to address these issues.”

Ms Sturgeon added that “contingency plans are already being activated” in order to increase Scotland’s test capacity, including three mobile testing units being deployed to Glasgow and the central belt.

One of the mobile testing units will be available from Tuesday afternoon while the other two will be deployed later this week, increasing capacity by between 1,200 and 1,500 tests.