'Don't Send Your Children To School With Covid' Parents Told As Cases Soar

Nadhim Zahawi said that around 200,000 children are currently off school because of Covid-19.
Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi
Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi
Getty / PA

Parents have been warned not to take their children to school with Covid-19 as virus rates soar.

Nadhim Zahawi revealed that around 200,000 children are currently off school due to Covid-19.

The education secretary admitted the figures had “ticked up” because infection rates are high.

Covid-19 cases soared by a million in a week, according to data from the Office for National Statistics.

Asked if parents who are worried about their children’s catch-up should still send them to school with Covid-19, Zahawi replied: “If your child has Covid, no, they shouldn’t be sending them to school.”

Zahawi told the BBC’s Sunday Morning show people had been “very good” at exercising their common sense.

It comes after children across the UK missed out on months of work due to school closures during the pandemic.

Zahawi vowed to do everything he could to make sure the UK did not have to close schools again.

The cabinet minister is set to unveil a White Paper this week outlining measures to address the education shortfall caused by the pandemic. It is said to include a longer school week and higher targets in maths and English.

Zahawi also did not rule out more testing in schools and said the government would have more to say about tests on April 1 when the universal free provision in England ends.

He added: “It’s not over, the virus still is with us. We just have to be careful.”

However, Lib Dem MP Munira Wilson said Zahawi was “in denial” about the level of infections in schools.

She said: “This government has let down and abandoned our children time and time again over the past two years and history looks doomed to repeat itself. It’s clear they have no plan for dealing with rising numbers of infections and absences.”

It comes amid fresh concerns about the summer exams for those pupils who contract covid.

The number of Covid-19 infections soared to 4.26 million in the seven days to 19 March, according to published figures. They were up 29.7 per cent on the week before.

This is just short of the 4.3 million in the first week of 2022, which was the highest total since estimates began.

Dr Anthony Fauci, chief medical adviser to US President Joe Biden, said the world “needs to keep an eye” on whether the new Omicron BA.2 variant is leading to increased hospital admissions.

Asked about future restrictions, Fauci told the BBC: “I don’t want to use the word lockdown as that has a charged element to it but I believe that we must keep our eye on the pattern of what we’re seeing with infections right now.

“We need to be prepared for the possibility that we would have another variant that would come along and then things change and if we do get a variance that does give us an uptick in cases and hospitalisation, we should be prepared and flexible enough to pivot towards going back at least temporarily, to a more rigid type of restrictions, such as requiring masks indoor.”


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