Australian state of Victoria reports zero new cases; Auckland seven-day lockdown begins; UK records lowest cases in five months
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All households in England with school or college aged children will be offered two rapid Covid tests per person per week to support the government’s priority to get young people back in the classroom, the health ministry said on Sunday, Reuters reports.
Last week British Prime Minister Boris Johnson set out a phased plan to end England’s latest Covid lockdown, offering a “cautious” approach to try to prevent a return to wholesale restrictions that have hobbled the economy.
He said the first stage would prioritise schools returning on 8 March when only minimal socialising outdoors would be allowed.
The health ministry said rapid test kits would be made available to collect from Monday at more than 500 locations, or through workplace testing and local community testing services.
Secondary school and college students will be tested twice a week, receiving initial tests at school or college before moving to home testing.
Primary school children without symptoms will not be tested at school but parents will be encouraged to test their children at home.
“We know that one in three people with Covid don’t have any symptoms, so targeted, regular testing will mean more positive cases are kept out of schools and colleges,” said health minister Matt Hancock.
The prevalence of Covid infections in England is falling, with 1 in 145 people infected in the week ending 19 February, the Office for National Statistics said on Friday.
Ireland’s premier has slammed the “thuggish behaviour” and attacks on Irish police as anti-lockdown protesters stormed Dublin city centre, PA Media.
Up to 20 people were arrested after hundreds of demonstrators clashed with police as they marched through the city centre and attempted to make their way to St Stephen’s Green park.
Related: Hundreds of anti-lockdown protesters clash with police in Dublin