Coronavirus: Push for civil servants to return to office and tests ‘might detect dead virus’

Coronavirus: Push for civil servants to return to office and tests 'might detect dead virus'

Here are five things you need to know about the coronavirus outbreak on Saturday. We’ll have another update for you on Sunday morning.

1. Civil servants ‘must get back to offices quickly’

Whitehall bosses have been urged by the government to “move quickly” to get more staff back into the office. But unions have described the government’s attitude as outdated and say most civil servants should expect to keep working from home until the end of the year.

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2. Tests ‘could be picking up dead virus’

The main test used to diagnose coronavirus is so sensitive that it could be picking up fragments of dead virus from old infections, scientists have said, meaning there could be an over-estimate of the current scale of the pandemic. Most people are infectious only for about a week, but could test positive weeks afterwards. What tests are available?

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3. Russian vaccine shows signs of immune response

Russian scientists have said that early tests from their coronavirus vaccine – named Sputnik-V – have shown signs of participants developing an immune response. Their first report, published by medical journal The Lancet, said every participant developed antibodies to fight the virus and had no serious side-effects. But experts have warned that the trials were too small to prove effectiveness and safety.

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4. Schools ‘no greater risk than home’ for pupils and staff

Children and staff are at no greater risk of contracting coronavirus when attending primary school than staying at home, a study of 131 schools suggests. However, the study of 12,000 adults and children in England was carried out in June and early July, when there were very few cases around. Meanwhile, what lessons can the rest of UK learn from Scotland’s school return?

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5. Portugal quarantine rules come into force

Travellers arriving in Scotland from Portugal will have to self-isolate for 14 days under new rules that came into force from 04:00 BST on Saturday. Scotland and Wales have added the country to their “quarantine list”, while England and Northern Ireland have not. Which countries are now on the quarantine list?

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