Kirknewton Coronavirus Update – local news, tracing app and lockdown changes


Before we get into coronavirus changes just a wee reminder than the Larder/Community Fridge is now open Mondays 5pm til 7pm and Thursdays 9am til 1pm (also soup bag and recipe days so get in early if you want one!). Results of the Wholefoods Survey can be found here and stock will be coming to Festival Stores soon. The shop now has some new ‘eco friendly’ fridges in, which is nice! Visit, take a look and why not buy a community lottery ticket while your there. £1 each and the draw is every Monday – get your ticket by 7pm. You can also get fresh bread, locally sourced eggs and pick up your veg bags too!

Thanks to everyone who took part in our ‘What do you like about Kirknewton, What could be better and what would you like to see’ community participation exercise. Despite the Covid challenges faced by external consultant Vikki Hilton a record breaking 680 people had their say. Don’t forget you can always make suggestions by filling in the Community Council Cards in Festival Stores. They pass those on to relevant groups and discuss at their own meeting which takes place every second Tuesday of the month.

NEW JOB OPPORTUNITY

There is also a new job opportunity for a Part Time Education Officer at Cyrenians Farm advertised here

TRACING APP

This information from the BBC website

Scotland now has its own proximity tracing app to help combat the spread of Covid-19. People with smartphones are being urged to download Protect Scotland as soon as possible to help boost the Test and Protect system.

How does it work?

The app uses Bluetooth technology to alert users if they have been in prolonged close contact with someone who has since tested positive for Covid-19.

When an individual tests positive for the virus they are contacted by a contact tracer via text, phone or email.

The contact tracer will ask them if they are an app user and if they are willing to use the app’s upload function to anonymously alert close contacts.

If they agree, they’ll be sent a unique code to their mobile which unlocks this function on the app.

By sharing their positive test result in this way it forms part of an anonymous database.

The app on other users’ phones regularly checks this database to see if they have been in contact with an infected person.

A warning is automatically issued when a match is found. Users are then urged to get tested or self-isolate for 14 days.

Where can you get it?

Protect Scotland can be downloaded for free from Apple’s App Store or Google Play.

On iPhones, the app will only work on the iOS 13 operating system, which can run on any models from the iPhone 6s onwards. Android users need to be running Android 6.0 or later.

Essentially, any phones released after 2015 should have the ability to run the app.

Is it confidential?

Yes. The app uses anonymous codes or “keys”. These will be exchanged between phones via Bluetooth but they contain no personal data.

They may include some information about Bluetooth signal strength, which the app uses to estimate proximity, but they cannot be used to identify you.

Using the app is entirely voluntary and you don’t have to enter any personal details to download or install it.

The decentralised approach is designed to maximise privacy. If you’re using the app, your phone collects lots of anonymised keys from nearby users but it stores these locally on your device, rather than uploading them.

Your phone will check them against the database to see if any of these keys were “infected” but it won’t upload any information without your permission.

The app includes a leave function which can be used at any time to delete all app data from the phone.

How does it tie in with Test and Protect?

Up until now contact tracing has been done manually using a method used for years to help control the spread of infectious diseases.

A person who is infected is interviewed over the phone to identify close contacts – people they have been within two metres of for a period of 15 minutes or more.

These close contacts are then phoned and given advice.

This will continue to be the main method of contact tracing, but the app is designed to reinforce the system.

What about false positives?

The app uses the same standard for a “close contact” – two metres for 15 minutes – as the Test and Protect teams.

Some users are advised to turn their phones off, or disable Bluetooth, in some circumstances. For example, these would include health or social care workers in clinical settings who are wearing medical grade PPE.

This is to stop these users being told to self-isolate when they were not at risk.

The developers say there is always a chance that false positives can be generated – such as through the wall of a house or flat – but the risk is “very low”.

Health experts also argue that false positives also occur in manual test and trace with people being told to self-isolate when they are not infected.

How many people need to download the app for it to be effective?

The Scottish government has pointed to an Oxford University study, which claims that even with an uptake of just 15%, a contact tracing app can drive down infections by about 8% and deaths by about 6% – if it is part of a manual track and trace strategy.

In Scotland, 15% of the adult population equates to about 689,000 people. The app was downloaded in Scotland by more than 360,000 people in the first 24 hours.

Is this based on the Irish system?

Another contact tracing app being developed by the NHS in England ran into technical problems and is currently being tested following a revamp.

The app being adopted in Scotland is instead based on a system developed in Ireland by the software firm NearForm.

NearForm designed it using a toolkit made available to developers by Apple and Google

Not all the features on the app being used in Ireland will be available on the Scottish app.

For instance, Ireland’s Covid Tracker includes an optional “Check-in” function which allows users to share with the health service if they are showing Covid symptoms.

NearForm’s system has also been adopted in Northern Ireland.

In Scotland the app will focus solely on contact tracing and initially will not work outside the country.

The Scottish government said it anticipated Protect Scotland would work with equivalent apps in the Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland and Gibraltar by the end of September.

Health authorities in Scotland will also continue to liaise with the UK and Welsh governments to ensure data sharing arrangements are considered when apps are available in England and Wales.

The app being developed by NHS England didn’t initially use the Apple/Google toolkit, but that decision was reversed in June.

LOCKDOWN RULE CHANGES

The Scottish government has paused the next set of changes to the country’s lockdown rules and toughened some existing measures.

The reopening of indoor soft play areas, theatres and live music venues has been delayed until at least 5 October, along with the resumption of indoor contact sports for those aged 12 and over.

The rules on meeting other people are also being tightened to reduce the size of gatherings. So what are the current rules – and what else is going to change?

What are the rules on meeting people?

From Monday 14 September, it will only be possible for a maximum of six people from two households to meet together – either indoors or outdoors.

The new regulations will apply in restaurants, pubs and beer gardens, as well as in people’s homes and gardens.

While the changes legally come into effect from Monday, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has asked people to follow the new rules straight away.

If children aged under 12 are part of the two households, they will not count towards the limit of six people.

There will also be exceptions for organised sports and places of worship, and for funerals, weddings and civil partnerships.

There will be no change to the rule which allows 20 people to attend these ceremonies, and the same limit will now apply to wakes and receptions in regulated venues like hotels.

People should still be following the 2m distancing rules when gathering together.

Restrictions have already been tightened in Glasgow, East and West Dunbartonshire, Renfrewshire and East Renfrewshire, where more than a million people are being advised not to visit other households indoors.

In addition, new police powers to break up house parties with more than 15 people will also be extended to cover parties in student accommodation from 14 September.

  • Until now, it had been possible for eight people from three different households to meet indoors and for up to 15 people from five different households to meet outdoors.

When could the next changes happen?

A number of other changes which had originally been planned for 14 September have now been pushed back to 5 October – and will depend on the outcome of a review on 1 October.

They include reopening indoor soft play areas, theatres and indoor live music venues, and the reopening of sports stadia for limited numbers of spectators.

It also includes indoor contact sports for people aged over 12.

Gyms, swimming pools and indoor sports courts have been allowed to reopen since 31 August.

There will be a further review on 1 October before a decision is taken on when non-essential offices and call centres can resume operations.

  • Since March 23, soft play centres have been fully closed in Scotland and the message throughout the pandemic has been “work at home where possible”.

What can I go out and do?

Pubs, cafes and restaurants have reopened both indoor and outdoor spaces.

They can seek an exemption from the 2m distancing rule indoors, but will have to warn customers that they are entering a 1m zone, produce revised seating plans, and take steps such as improving ventilation.

Guidance on physical distancing have to be followed, and customers have to provide their contact details.

It will become the law that customers must wear face coverings in hospitality venues while moving around and when they are not eating or drinking. It will also be mandatory for staff to wear face coverings.

At the point all shops were allowed to reopen, face coverings became compulsory. That is also the case for buses, trains, trams, planes and taxis.

There are no longer restrictions on how far you can travel in Scotland. The level of services on public transport have been scaling up, although there is still reduced capacity.

Holiday accommodation has also reopened, along with museums, galleries, cinemas, monuments and libraries.

Outdoor markets had earlier been allowed to open, along with outdoor sports courts and playgrounds, zoos and garden attractions.

Hairdressers, barbers, beauticians and nail salons were allowed to reopen, with enhanced hygiene measures.

Professional sport has been allowed to resume behind closed doors, although fans are being allowed to attend some test events. Two pilot events due to take place at SPFL matches this weekend will still go ahead.

People of all ages have been able to take part in organised outdoor contact sports since 24 August.

Bingo halls, amusement arcades, casinos, funfairs and snooker halls were also allowed to reopen, and driving lessons could resume.

Live events such as concerts and comedy can take place outdoors, with physical distancing, enhanced hygiene and restricted audience numbers.

  • The opening up of Scotland has been gradual since the start of the summer. The new restrictions on the number of people who can gather will not result in hospitality and sports venues which are currently open – including pubs, restaurants and gyms – being closed again.

What else has changed?

Children returned to school from 11 August, although in many areas there was a phased return over the first week.

Pupils and staff must now wear face coverings when moving about within secondary schools.

Universities and colleges can introduce a phased return to on-campus learning, as part of a blended model with remote teaching.

Opticians are able to carry out routine eye care services – including regular eye exams – in community optometry premises and in people’s homes.

Dentists have been able to expand their services to offer urgent treatment which involves aerosols.

Counselling services, such as drug and alcohol support groups, are now able to provide essential services.

Places of worship have reopened for communal prayer and services, although numbers are limited, singing and chanting is restricted, and those attending need to give their contact details.

  • Although indoor and outdoor rules are becoming tighter, worshippers are still able to gather for services with distancing and mask wearing in operation.

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