THE number of children testing positive for Covid in Scotland has increased four-fold since schools returned.

The latest figures from Public Health Scotland show that in the in week ending September 20, 121 cases were detected in youngsters aged two to 17.

Of these, 36 were in primary school-aged children, and 77 in those aged 12-17.

HeraldScotland: Source: Public Health ScotlandSource: Public Health Scotland

It compares to just 29 cases identified among two to 17-year-olds in the week ending August 9, prior to classes re-starting. 

The return to schools also triggered a huge surge in demand for tests, however, especially among 'superspreader' primary school pupils who are particularly likely to catch and spread cold and flu-like viruses.

However, children appear less prone to transmitting SARS-CoV-2 - the novel coronavirus which causes Covid-19 - both among themselves and to adults.

Most school outbreaks can be traced to teachers and other adult staff.

Children are also extremely unlikely to develop serious complications from infection, and more like than teenagers and adults to be asymptomatic. 

HeraldScotland: Source: PHSSource: PHS

The latest information from PHS shows that the huge spike in demand for testing appears to have passed, however. 

Labs went from processing around 2000 tests a week for two to 17-year-olds in the week ending August 9, to 34,000 in the last week of August.

By the week ending September 20, this had fallen back to around 5000.

HeraldScotland: Source: PHSSource: PHS

Percentage positivity - which is now exceeding the 5% threshold for the overall population tested - remains within safe limits for two to 17-year-olds.

In the week ending September 20, the rate was 2.3% overall and 3.5% for 12 to 17-year-olds.