Health officials in Tayside have disclosed that 17 teachers at a special school in Dundee have contracted Covid-19, alongside two pupils and three community contacts.

NHS Tayside shut Kingspark school last Wednesday for deep cleaning after the outbreak emerged, and on Friday closed it to allow staff and pupils to self-isolate for 14 days because of the pupils’ complex needs.

The board said on Sunday that 22 people were infected, up from 12 on Friday. It said contact tracing had identified links to two other schools in Dundee, with one positive case at St Peter’s and St Paul’s primary, and another at Happy Times out-of school club at Downfield primary.

All the pupils in the affected class at St Peter’s and St Paul’s have been asked to stay at home and self-isolate.

In a further outbreak, two primary school classes at High Blantyre primary school in Lanarkshire have been told to stay at home after a teacher and two pupils tested positive over the weekend.

Dr Ellie Hothersall, a consultant in public health medicine with NHS Tayside, said: “Since the identification of positive cases at Kingspark, a detailed contact-tracing programme has been under way and these linked cases are being identified because of those concerted efforts of test and protect.

“We must do everything we can to protect all of our communities against Covid-19 and that is why we have issued the guidance to self-isolate. By taking this action we are containing any further spread of infection.

“We know that this may cause anxiety to some parents and children but we must do everything we can to ensure we keep people safe.”

The outbreaks are the latest in a series either at or linked to Scottish schools since classes resumed earlier in August, in some cases leading to entire classes being told to remain at home and self-isolate. Those cases involved schools in Glasgow, Perth, Blairgowrie, Paisley, Johnstone and Coatbridge.

After weeks of falls, Scotland’s Covid-19 infection rate is climbing again, with two large outbreaks involving pub-goers in Aberdeen and chicken factory workers in Coupar Angus, also in the NHS Tayside region.

There were 83 new cases detected across Scotland on Sunday and 123 on Saturday – the highest daily figure since mid-May. In July, the number of new cases was regularly as low as between one and four a day. There have been no new deaths of confirmed Covid-19 patients since Wednesday.

The Guardian

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