Masks to be worn in some south-west England schools amid Covid rise

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Secondary school and college pupils will need to wear face masks in communal areas outside their classrooms yet again in parts of south-west England as extra support was pledged in response to a rise in coronavirus cases.

The Department of Health and Social Care said that from Friday, Cornwall, the Isles of Scilly, Devon, Plymouth and Torbay local authority areas, which have recorded a rise in cases, would get help to increase vaccine and testing uptake and deliver more public health messaging.

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Although schools in the areas will return from next week as planned, students in secondary schools and colleges will have to wear face masks in communal areas. The guidance had been scrapped on 19 July.

The new measures are expected to be in place for five weeks, with the impact monitored.

It comes after new figures showed growing numbers of local areas, including in south-west England, were recording their highest rates of new cases of Covid-19 since comparable records began, as the third wave continues to pick up pace across the UK.

The return of schools, a bank holiday weekend about to begin in all nations except Scotland, and a busy calendar of sport and music likely to attract large crowds are all feared to be events that could push rates higher.

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