Coronavirus in Scotland RECAP: 806 new cases | Highest number recorded
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Coronavirus in Scotland LIVE: Tuesday, September 29, 2020
Last updated: Tuesday, 29 September, 2020, 19:41
- 806 new cases of Covid-19 reported in Scotland - highest ever number
- No new deaths in Scotland, FM confirms
- Scottish economy faces “biggest reduction in output in modern times”
- Global deaths from the virus surpass 1,000,000
World Health Organisation’s new antigen test
A new form of Covid-19 test which can produce results in just 15-30 minutes is set to be rolled out across the globe, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has announced.
New rapid antigen test: How does this new test work?
The antigen-based rapid diagnostic tests work by detecting proteins found on the surface of the virus.
The tests, which look similar to pregnancy tests and can yield results within 30 minutes, simply display two blue lines for a positive result.
The WHO last week approved the tests for emergency use.
New rapid antigen tests: How do they differ from other tests?
The main difference between rapid-antigen tests and nasal/throat swabs and finger-prick blood tests is the antigen tests do not require laboratory processing to produce results.
This means they are able to detect coronavirus infection within minutes, compared to the hours or days necessary for the genetic tests, known as PCR tests, to turnaround results.
They are also far cheaper, with each test costing just 5 US dollars (£3.90) each.
However they are generally considered less accurate than laboratory-based tests.
New rapid antigen tests
New rapid antigen tests: How important are they?
The rapid antigen tests will be vital in improving the testing capacity of lower and middle-income countries who lack enough laboratory resources or trained health workers to properly carry out PCR tests.
They will also allow health care workers to get a better grip on where the virus is circulating in poorer countries, in hopes of following up with containment and other measures to stop it.
Peter Sands, executive director of the Global Fund, a partnership that works to end epidemics, said the tests represent a “significant step” in the effort to combat and contain the virus on a global scale.
He said: “They’re not a silver bullet, but hugely valuable as a complement to PCR tests.”
New rapid antigen tests: Matt Hancock
Bernard Matthews: Turkey plant workers self-isolate
Eighteen workers at a Bernard Matthews turkey plant have tested positive for coronavirus and are self-isolating.
Food production at the processing facility in Holton, near Halesworth in Suffolk, has not been affected by the outbreak.
Around 100 staff have been tested for Covid-19 with most returning negative results and additional testing is taking place this week.
The site has had controls in place since March to reduce coronavirus infections, including regular temperature checks, staff working in bubbles, Covid marshals, masks and visors and social distancing throughout the site.
The majority of the 18 workers who tested positive live in the Great Yarmouth and Lowestoft areas and the cases are believed to have initiated in the community, the company said.
Officials including from Suffolk County Council, Public Health England and Bernard Matthews are working together to manage the situation.
New rapid antigen tests: When will the tests be rolled out?
The WHO and its leading partners have agreed to deploy 120 million rapid-diagnostic tests as early as next month.
Catharina Boehme, chief executive of a non-profit group called the Foundation for Innovative New Diagnostics, said the initial rollout would take place across 20 countries in Africa.
New rapid antigen tests: What do the new tests mean for the UK?
While poorer countries will primarily benefit from the rapid-antigen tests, wealthier countries who have signed up to the Access to Covid tools initiative, which the UK has, will also be given access to them.
They represent a potential boon to the Government’s Operation Moonshot scheme for mass testing, though it is not clear if they intend to buy these tests.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock previously said mass testing was the nation’s “best chance” of reducing social distancing measures without having a vaccine.
New rapid antigen tests: What have other people said about antigen tests?
Former prime minister Tony Blair has called on the Government to adopt the rapid antigen tests, saying they could enable an extra 300,000 coronavirus tests to be carried out every day within a few weeks.
However Baroness Dido Harding, the head of NHS Test and Trace, warned companies and individuals could be forced to foot the bill for the swift turnaround tests as they were too unreliable for use within the health service.
But she said those without symptoms might choose to pay for the tests to act as a kind of Covid-19 passport to allow them to take part in non-socially distanced activities.
Global Covid-19 deaths surpass one million
Data from the Worldometer coronavirus tracker shows 1,006,468 people have now died from the disease across the globe.
The milestone figure was reached in the early hours of the morning (GMT).
New rapid antigen tests: Tony Blair
UK Government faces possible rebellion over Coronavirus Act renewal
Senior Tory Sir Desmond Swayne warned that some MPs could vote against the renewal of the Coronavirus Act if a rebel amendment is not selected by the Commons Speaker.
Accusing ministers of governing by “fiat”, he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “If there isn’t a vote on the amendment and there isn’t a satisfactory response from the Government to the demands of the amendment, many people will vote against a renewal of an act.
“Well when I say many, there will be a number, but certainly the Government isn’t going to be defeated.”
Expert: Local lockdown measures appear to be working
Professor Andrew Hayward, a scientist advising the Government’s coronavirus response, has said that some of the new restrictions appear to have slowed the rate of coronavirus’s spread.
The UCL epidemiologist said that “unfortunately” the new measures across north-east England are necessary to prevent a large death toll.
He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “It does look like the rate of increase has decreased with some of the new measures that have been introduced – so that’s a good thing.”
Former CMO: Virus could be under control in Scotland “in weeks"
A former chief medical officer of Scotland has said that Covid-19 could be back under control in the coming weeks if rules put in place are followed.
Professor Sir Harry Burns, who served as Scotland’s top doctor between 2005 and 2014, urged people to follow new restrictions put in place last week, as well as maintaining compliance with hygiene measures which have been in place since the start of the pandemic.
Following a spike in cases, the Scottish Government banned gatherings in people’s homes and brought a 10pm curfew for hospitality businesses into force.
Speaking on BBC Radio Scotland’s Good Morning Scotland programme, Sir Harry said: “Within the next two to three weeks we should see things settling down, so long as people are observing the rules.
“What we have learned up until now is that if people self isolate when they’re required to, if they use face coverings, hand washing and so on, it suppresses the prevalence of the virus in the community.
“So, the quicker that people learn to do that and stick with it, we will see things coming down within two to three weeks.”