£300m fund set aside to help contain COVID19 including school outbreaks

£300m fund set aside to help contain COVID19 including school outbreaks.  The Department for Education has confirmed that it has set aside £300million which will be made available via local authorities to help deal with local coronavirus outbreaks including incidents in schools. 

The funding forms part of the Government’s test and trace system, involving a national “Joint Biosecurity Centre” which will liaise closely with local authorities and public health teams to identify and respond to outbreaks in local areas.

In particular, the focus will include containing outbreaks in schools.

To help implement the new system, a new Local Government Advisory Board has been created to oversee the work.

Local authorities will be central to supporting the new test and trace service and each local authority will be given funding to develop tailored outbreak control plans, working with local NHS and other stakeholders.

The plan is to focus on identifying and containing potential outbreaks in workplaces, housing complexes, care homes and schools.

The Government has also increased the number of tests, which now includes children aged under 5.

Anyone with a new, continuous cough, a high temperature or a change in their sense of smell or taste is asked to immediately report these symptoms and book a test at nhs.uk/coronavirus or call 119.

If a person tests positive, they will be contacted by NHS Test and Trace and will need to share information about their recent interactions including household members, those they’ve had direct contact with or within two metres for more than 15 minutes.

Data on the virus’s spread will be shared with local authorities through the Joint Biosecurity Centre to inform local outbreak planning, so teams understand how the virus is moving, working with national government where necessary to access the testing and tracing capabilities of the new service.

Work will be led by local authority leaders and local directors of public health in charge of planning. They, in turn, will operate in close partnership with local hospitals, GP practices, businesses, religious groups, schools and charities to organise support for groups affected by a localised outbreak.

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£300 million fund set aside to help contain COVID19 including school outbreaks