Halliday, Flanagan and Foderingham to leave Rangers

Ibrox club confirms players' departures and commends their 'professionalism'.

Departures: Halliday, Foderingham and Flanagan to leave. SNSGroup
Departures: Halliday, Foderingham and Flanagan to leave.

Andy Halliday, Jon Flanagan and Wes Foderingham will leave Rangers upon the expiry of their contracts, it has been confirmed.

The Ibrox club said they were “grateful for the professionalism, commitment and application” of all three players, as they revealed their departure in a statement.

Halliday and Foderingham both joined the club in 2015, while Flanagan joined former Liverpool teammate Steven Gerrard in Glasgow in 2018.

Jason Holt, Jordan Rossiter and Jak Alnwick will also leave – the three fringe players were out on loan last season.

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Manager Gerrard said: “I want to recognise the contribution of the players who are leaving our squad at the end of this season.

“There is a lot more that people contribute to, away from the fixtures each weekend, and I commend each of the departing players for what they have given to us day in and day out.

“Work continues on a daily basis in planning and preparation for next season.”

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UK Government to top-up wages for another six months

A new job support scheme will see the Treasury help employers cover the full-time wages of people working 'viable' jobs.

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A new jobs support scheme will see the Treasury top up the wages of people in “viable” jobs working at least a third of their normal hours.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak said the initiative, which replaces the furlough scheme, will be in effect for six months starting in November.

He told the House of Commons it is “fundamentally wrong” to hold people in jobs that only exist inside the furlough system.

The new jobs support scheme will see the UK Government along with employers pay up to two-thirds of the wages of people in work.

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The Treasury will provide similar support for the self-employed, the Chancellor added.

He also announced the VAT cut to 5% for businesses in tourism and hospitality will be extended until the end of March next year in targeted support for the sectors.

In addition, a new “pay as you grow” scheme will allow firms who have taken out emergency “bounce back” coronavirus loans from the government to repay them over a period of up to 10 years.

For the new jobs support scheme, the level of government grant will be calculated based on the worker’s usual salary – but it will be capped at £697.92 per month.

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People working at least a third of their usual hours will be paid for that work as normal.

Then, the state and employers will increase those wages to cover two-thirds of the pay they have lost by working reduced hours, meaning they would receive at least 77% of their usual pay.

The government will cover 22%, or up to £697.92 a month, and the employer will have to pay the remaining 55% (including the third they have already covered).

The scheme will cost the Treasury an estimated £300m a month for every million workers who take up the scheme.

Sunak said it would allow businesses to keep employees in a job on shorter hours.

It will apply to small and medium-sized firms, but larger firms will only be eligible if they have seen a fall in turnover during the crisis.

Businesses will not be able to issue redundancy notices to employees while taking part in the jobs support scheme and there will be restrictions on capital distributions to shareholders.

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Sunak told MPs: “The government will directly support the wages of people in work, giving businesses who face depressed demand the option of keeping employees in a job on shorter hours rather than making them redundant.”

The Chancellor said this latest economic intervention is built on “three principles”.

Sunak continued: “First, it will support viable jobs. To make sure of that employees must work at least a third of their normal hours and be paid for that work as normal by their employer.

“The government, together with employers, will then increase those people’s wages covering two-thirds of the pay they have lost by reducing their working hours, and the employee will keep their job.

“Second, we will target support at firms who need it the most. All small and medium-sized businesses are eligible but larger businesses only when their turnover has fallen through the crisis.

“Third, it will be open to employers across the United Kingdom, even if they have not previously used the furlough scheme.

“The scheme will run for six months starting in November and employers retaining furloughed staff on shorter hours can claim both the jobs support scheme and the jobs retention bonus.”

Sunak further announced the extension of the grant scheme for self-employed people.

An initial taxable grant will be provided to those who are currently eligible for grant and are continuing to actively trade but face reduced demand due to coronavirus.

A lump sum will cover three months’ worth of profits for the period from November to the end of January next year, worth 20% of average monthly profits – down from 80% previously – up to a total of £1875.

An additional second grant, which will be kept under review, could be available for the self-employed to cover the period from next February to April.

Explaining the need to replace furlough, the Chancellor said “we can’t save every business” and “we can’t save every job”.

He went on: “Our economy is now likely to undergo a more permanent adjustment.

“The sources of our economic growth and the kinds of jobs we create will adapt and evolve to the new normal and our plan needs to adapt and evolve in response.

“Above all, we need to face up to the trade-offs and hard choices coronavirus presents and there has been no harder choice than to end the furlough scheme.

“The furlough was the right policy at the time we introduced it – it provided immediate short-term protection for millions of jobs through a period of acute crisis.

“But as the economy re-opens it is fundamentally wrong to hold people in jobs that only exist inside the furlough.”

Two deaths as Scotland records 465 new coronavirus cases

The latest Covid figures were confirmed at First Minister's Questions.

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Scotland has recorded another 465 cases of coronavirus in the last 24 hours.

Speaking at First Minister’s Questions, Nicola Sturgeon confirmed there have been two deaths of people who have tested positive.

The total number of fatalities among those who have had a positive test now stands at 2510.

The new cases represent a positivity rate of 7.9% among those who were tested.

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Of the cases, 219 are in the Greater Glasgow and Clyde health board area – where a significant cluster is associated with student accommodation at Glasgow University.

There were 66 cases recorded in Lanarkshire and 73 in Lothian. The remaining 107 cases are spread across nine other health boards.

Sturgeon said the latest figures showed why the Scottish Government had announced further “tough measures” aimed at curbing coronavirus.

Speaking about the restrictions, which include a countrywide ban on household gatherings, Sturgeon said: “With some limited exceptions none of us should be visiting each others homes at the moment.”

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A 10pm curfew for pubs and restaurants will take effect from Friday and the First Minister appealed to people to “limit visits to and social interactions in pubs and restaurants as much as possible”.

She said: “These measures are tough, I think we all know that, but they are necessary if we are to keep schools open, resume more non-Covid NHS services, keep care homes safe and protect jobs.

“And if we don’t act now the danger is the virus will continue to spread and even more severe or longer lasting restrictions will be required later.

“But if we can start to reduce the number of new cases over the next few weeks we will be better placed for the winter ahead.”

‘Twisted monster tried to frame me for friend’s death’

Ellie Plenderleith, 20, hopes Kanad Basi will now be locked up after he admitted killing 16-year-old Jack Frame in a car crash.

Victims: Ellie Plenderleith was seriously injured in the crash that killed Jack Frame.

A passenger in a fatal car crash has branded the killer driver a ‘twisted monster’ for trying to ‘frame her’.

Ellie Plenderleith, 20, hopes Kanad Basi will now be locked up after he admitted killing 16-year-old Jack Frame in the smash.

Basi, 22, who was almost twice the drink-drive limit and had taken cocaine and ecstasy, drove into a bend at speed, lost control of his BMW and crashed into a tree.

Front-seat passenger Jack suffered catastrophic head injuries and died at the scene.

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In the immediate aftermath, Basi climbed into the back of the car and pushed an unconscious Ms Plenderleith into the front. She was found with her legs in the rear seating area and her head facing down into the driver’s footwell.

Basi called 999 from third passenger Aiden O’Donnell’s phone and initially admitted he was driving, but later told police he “couldn’t remember” if he was behind the wheel.

On Tuesday at the High Court in Glasgow, Basi pleaded guilty to killing Jack by dangerous driving.

Ms Plenderleith said: “Kanad moving me from the back seat to the driver seat while I was unconscious shows you what kind of person he is.

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“What made things worse was that because he wasn’t charged for a long time, he was able to spread his own false version of events round our community to further the notion that he was a victim.

“This meant people believed him and they blamed me for the accident.

“I received loads of abuse – either in person or in texts – and it made it difficult for me to attend Jack’s funeral with other young people believing Kanad.

“However, Jack and Aiden’s family I think always suspected there was something wrong with Kanad’s version of events and thankfully they have always been very supportive and kind to me from the beginning.”

The crash happened on New Trows Road in Lesmahagow, Lanarkshire, on February 10 last year after the foursome left a party.

None of the passengers were wearing a seat belt. Basi, who was wearing one, suffered a broken wrist. His DNA and blood were found on the driver’s airbag.

Apprentice joiner Mr O’Donnell, then 18, suffered a fractured skull, four facial fractures, two broken legs and a number of fractures to his left arm. He had to undergo surgery and learn to walk again. He has been unable to work since the accident.

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Ms Plenderleith, who was 19, had to have her right pinky finger amputated. She also suffered a broken right upper arm, lacerations to her liver, a punctured lung, broken ribs and a fractured chest bone.

It took six months for her to physically recover from her injuries; however she said she still suffers daily pain and emotional trauma.

In a statement released through law firm Digby Brown, Ms Plenderleith added: “The whole thing took a massive toll. I lived in constant anxiety and I have physical injuries that will now stay with me for the rest of my life.

“It makes me sick to think Kanad was my friend before the crash.

“I trusted him – I don’t know how he could do something so horrendous to take time and plan things and spread lies.

“I am glad people now know the truth of what happened and that twisted toxic monster will hopefully be locked up where he belongs but we should not have had to wait as long as we did for justice.”

Basi, of Pollokshields, Glasgow, was remanded in custody and will be sentenced next month.


Coldest September night since 1997 recorded in Scotland

Altnaharra in the Highlands recorded an overnight temperature of -5C, the lowest since spring this year.

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Temperature: Mercury dips to -5C in the Highlands.

Scotland has recorded its coldest night in September since 1997.

Altnaharra in the Highlands recorded an overnight temperature of -5C, the lowest recorded since spring this year. 

The previous record was recorded in Boultenstone, Aberdeenshire in September 1997.

STV meteorologist Sean Batty said many parts of the country have been experiencing early morning frosts as temperatures fall close to freezing. 

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He said: “Autumn officially started on Tuesday morning and there’s definitely been a real autumn chill in the air recently. You might have noticed your leftover summer flowers are probably not looking at their best anymore, my gladioli are definitely not the happiest of blooms after the last few nights.

“The autumn equinox on Tuesday marks the point where we get roughly 12 hours of daylight to 12 hours of darkness with the nights beginning stretching out. This is also the point in the year where we start to lose daylight more rapidly with a loss of four and half minutes of daylight per day in Edinburgh and five and a half minute in Shetland. At this time of year we can get some big, what we call diurnal swings, in our temperatures. This just means the days can still be quite warm but then it can also be cold and frosty at night.

“In the last few days we’ve been hitting 17-18C in the east of Scotland, but at the same time been experiencing overnight frosts with temperatures falling close to freezing. Last night was our coldest night since spring with the mercury falling to -5C in Altnaharra in the north Highlands. 

“Now this might not sound overly low, but in actual fact is the lowest temperature we’ve recorded in September since 1997, when -5C was recorded at Boultenstone in Aberdeenshire.”

Altnaharra recorded the lowest temperature in September since 1997.
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He added: “The -5C recorded last night is a new September record for Altnaharra, but not quite a Scottish record, although not a million miles away. The record is -6.7C recorded at Dalwhinnie in 1942.

“Even further south we had a touch of frost with temperatures falling to 0.8C at Bishopton in Renfrewshire. The records at Bishopton go back 20 years and last night’s low was not far off the record here of 0.2C. The lowest September values recorded around Glasgow are -4C in Abbotsinch and -1.5C in Springburn, both in 1974.

“There will still be chilly nights ahead, with Saturday night looking the coldest with a widespread frost developing in western and southern areas. After that milder air starts to move north into next week and that means the overnight temperatures will recover.”


Man left friend in pool of blood after row over cyclists

Jay Fraser, 26, stabbed Jordan Kerr, 27, outside a flat in Glasgow’s Springburn last December.

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Glasgow: Jay Fraser was jailed for attacking his friend in the city.

A man who stabbed a friend and left him lying unconscious in the street after a row over cyclists has been jailed for 23 months.

Jay Fraser, 26, turned on Jordan Kerr, 27, outside a flat in Glasgow’s Springburn last December.

The pair had earlier argued because Fraser claimed Mr Kerr had tried to push two cyclists off their bikes.

Fraser then attacked Mr Kerr with the blade, leaving him with “significant facial disfigurement”.

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At Glasgow Sheriff Court on Thursday, Fraser pleaded guilty under provocation to the assault to Mr Kerr’s severe injury and permanent disfigurement.

Sheriff Sean Murphy QC told Fraser: “These are serious matters and are particularly serious given your record.

“You have significant previous convictions for violence.”

Fraser was also put on supervision for nine months following his release from prison.

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The court heard Fraser and Mr Kerr initially got into an argument that day.

Prosecutor Mark Allan said: “The accused began to punch and kick Mr Kerr on the head and body.

“Thereafter, he struck him on the head with a knife before making off.”

The court was told Mr Kerr lay unconscious in a pool of blood for four hours before being seen at 5.30am by a member of the public who dialled 999.

Mr Kerr suffered a nine-inch wound to his cheek and nerve damage.

Mr Allan added “As a result of this attack, Mr Kerr will be left with significant facial damage.”

The court heard Fraser went on to assault taxi driver Parvez Chaudhry, 66, a month later after refusing to pay him.

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Fraser punched Mr Chaudhry five times on the head, before fleeing the vehicle.

Fraser was finally arrested after punching shopkeeper Naeem Araf, 39, after he refused to give him Buckfast on ‘tick’ in February this year.

Fraser pleaded guilty to the two further assaults and stealing a quantity of sweets from the shop.

Lawyer Frank Moore, defending, said: “Mr Kerr tried to push two cyclists who were passing by.

“They then argued and Mr Kerr produced a knife and tried to stab Mr Fraser. But Mr Fraser took it off him and used the knife to assault Mr Kerr.”


More than 1000 students across Scotland self-isolating

At the Scottish Government’s Covid-19 briefing on Wednesday, students were given a strong warning against house parties.

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University of Glasgow: More than 600 students are self-isolating following two 'significant clusters'.

More than 1000 students across Scotland are self-isolating in halls of residence following a number of coronavirus outbreaks.

At least 124 students have tested positive for Covid-19 at the University of Glasgow.

More than 600 students are now in quarantine following “two significant clusters” linked to the university’s Murano Street and Cairncross residences.

It is believed the outbreak was largely caused due to social activity at the start of freshers’ week, from September 12-14.

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The university is now working with NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde’s public health team to manage the outbreak.

Parker House in Dundee.
Abertay University: All residents at Parker House are in quarantine. GOOGLE 2020

In Tayside, the health board is investigating a single positive case of Covid-19 and a “small number” of suspected cases linked to Parker House in Dundee, a private student accommodation.

Close contacts of the positive case – a student at Abertay University – are being contacted, however as a precaution to prevent the spread of the virus, all 500 residents staying at the halls have been told to quarantine until further contact tracing has been completed.

On Monday, the University of St Andrews confirmed more than 40 people are self-isolating after four students contacted the virus after a freshers’ week party.

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These new cases brought the total at the university to seven, after three were announced last week.

St Andrew’s University: The students were asked to stay indoors. GETTY IMAGES

In response to the initial outbreak, Principal Sally Mapstone asked students to stay within their households over the weekend and urged them “not to party, not to go to bars or restaurants, and to avoid mixing with any groups outside their own households”.

A number of students at Aberdeen University have also tested positive for Covid-19.

On Tuesday, all residents of Wavell House halls of residence within Hillhead Student Village were told to self-isolate for two weeks unless advised otherwise.

Edinburgh Napier University.
Edinburgh Napier University: A number of students have tested positive for Covid-19. SNS

In addition, it emerged last week that public health officials were investigating a coronavirus cluster at university student accommodation in Edinburgh.

NHS Lothian said a number of people had tested positive at Napier University’s Bainfield accommodation in the Fountainbridge area of the capital.

The health board is also aware of a student testing positive for the virus at Queen Margaret University’s halls of residence.

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The university said it was working closely with NHS Lothian’s health protection team and was following all national guidance.

At the Scottish Government’s Covid-19 briefing on Wednesday, students were given a strong warning against house parties.

National clinical director Jason Leitch said: “We need you not to have house parties, I could not be more clear.”

Life expectancy continues to stall as Scotland bottom of UK

National Records of Scotland (NRS) examined statistics between 2017 and 2019.

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Scotland: Life expectancy growth continues to stall north of the border.

Life expectancy growth continues to stall north of the border, with Scotland having the lowest figures of all UK countries according to new data.

However, the number of centenarians in the country has increased following four years of decline.

National Records of Scotland (NRS) examined statistics between 2017 and 2019 and found the average life expectancy for a woman is 81.1 years, the same as 2018’s figures.

Meanwhile, the average life expectancy for a man is 77.1 years, a slight increase from 77.

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The UK figures for life expectancy at birth are 79.4 years for males and 83.1 years for females.

Deprivation was found to have a strong effect on life expectancy.

The figures revealed that men living in the least deprived areas are likely to live 13 years longer than those in the most deprived.

Meanwhile, women in the least deprived areas are likely to live ten years longer than those in the most deprived.

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Scottish life expectancy has been increasing since the early 1980s but has been largely static since the 2012 to 2014 period.

Julie Ramsay, head of vital events statistics at NRS, said: “The rate of life expectancy growth has stalled over the last few years in Scotland and this has been broadly reflective of the picture throughout the country.

“Life expectancy varies considerably across Scotland, for example, life expectancy for both males and females is at its lowest in Glasgow City, where males are expected to live to 73.6 years and females to 78.5.

“Life expectancy for females is highest in East Renfrewshire at 84 years and male life expectancy was highest in East Dunbartonshire at 80.5 years.”

Meanwhile, the number of centenarians living in Scotland has increased.

There were 820 people aged 100 and over in 2019.

The figures show there are four times more female centenarians, with 670 women reaching the milestone compared to 150 men.

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The overall number has increased by 5% from the year before and represents the first rise in four years.

There are also an estimated 43,660 people aged 90 and over. The number of people in that age group has increased every year since 2009.

Denise Patrick, head of population and migration statistics at NRS, said: “There are many more women than men who live for over 100 years, reflecting the longer life expectancy of females.

“However, over the past decade, the number of men aged 100 and over has grown at a faster rate than females.

“Male centenarians have increased by 50% from 100 to 150 in the last ten years. In comparison, there are only 3% more female centenarians now than a decade ago, but there are still many more women aged 100 and over – 670 in 2019 compared to 650 in 2009.

“Today’s figures also show after four years of decline, we have seen a slight increase in the total number of people living for more than 100 years.

“This rise corresponds with an increase in the number of births following the end of World War One.”


Man spat at police officers in hospital during lockdown

Accused jailed for assaulting two constables at Glasgow hospital.

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Man who spat at police officers jailed for 13 months.

A man who spat bloody saliva at police officers at the height of the coronavirus lockdown has been jailed for 13 months.

Walid Boutoubane assaulted PCs Lewis Webster and Adam Gray at Glasgow’s Queen Elizabeth University Hospital in May this year.

The 24-year-old then said he would have to be dragged out kicking and screaming before he would go to jail.

Boutoubane pleaded guilty at Glasgow Sheriff Court to the two assaults and resisting or obstructing police.

Sheriff Sean Murphy QC put Boutoubane under supervision for six months following his release from prison.

The court heard Boutoubane was initially picked up by police on Carnwadric Road with a head injury and taken to hospital for treatment.

Prosecutor Mark Allan said Boutoubane became aggressive and was shouting, swearing and threatening the officers.

Boutoubane then made a run for the exit door but was stopped from leaving.

Mr Allan said: “When PC Gray tried to stop him leaving the room, the accused turned and spat on his face.

“There was some blood in some saliva, which connected with the officer’s cheek.

“PC Webster reacted to the accused by putting his hand across his mouth and the accused then spat on his arm and chest.”

Boutoubane said: “I will not be going to jail, you will need to drag me out of here kicking and screaming, I’m going to f***ing kill you c***s.”

He was eventually treated before being taken back into custody.

Mr Allan said: “The reporting officer made it very clear in his report that this arose at the height of the pandemic.”

Lawyer Stephen Bentley, defending, told the court that Boutoubane was disgusted and ashamed of himself.

Mr Bentley also offered an apology to the officers from Boutoubane and stated his actions were intolerable.

School to remain closed after staff members catch Covid

Sinclairtown Primary in Kirkcaldy was put on high alert after an individual linked to the school tested positive for Covid-19.

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Sinclairtown Primary: The school has been closed until Monday.

A Fife primary school will remain closed until next week after three staff members tested positive for coronavirus.

On Sunday, NHS Fife confirmed that an individual linked to Sinclairtown Primary School in Kirkcaldy was self-isolating at home after testing positive for Covid-19.

As a precaution, all pupils from class P1A, P4 and some children from P2 were ordered to stay off school from Monday and quarantine for two weeks.

However on Wednesday, all children at the primary were told not to attend following a “small number of confirmed cases of Covid-19 with links to the school”.

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The health board later confirmed three staff members were infected, and for staffing reasons the school building will remain closed until Monday.

The trio were said to be “experiencing mild symptoms” and are self-isolating at home with their household members.

NHS Fife said there is no evidence of transmission within the pupils at this stage, and based on the information available the health board believes the risk of transmission amongst the children “remains low”.

The pupils in P1A, P2 and P4 who were previously identified as potential contacts must continue to isolate at home as a precaution. Other pupils do not need to quarantine, but must not attend school.  

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Gordon Wardrope, Fife Council’s education manager, said: “As a result of positive cases of Covid-19 amongst school staff, all teaching staff at the school have been instructed to isolate pending further assessment by NHS Fife’s health protection team. This operational impact of this means we are unable to reopen the school before Monday, September 28.

“We appreciate this will create some anxiety, however, parents and carers should be assured that the safety of our pupils and staff remains our number one priority and we are continuing to follow public health advice around any actions required.”  

comprehensive list of questions and answers has been created for parents. A local online support hub has also been set up to provide information on testing for Covid-19 and updates on the pandemic.

Dr Lorna Watson, a consultant in public health medicine with NHS Fife, said: “NHS Fife’s health protection team is working closely with our colleagues at Fife Council’s education department to identify any close contacts of the positive cases in order to prevent onward spread of the virus. 

“Contact tracing is a tried and tested method of reducing the spread of communicable viruses such as Covid-19 and has been used successfully over recent weeks and months to prevent other large-scale clusters of the virus from developing.”

To book a coronavirus test, click here or call 0800 028 2816.

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