All schools to close from Friday

Posted On 18 Mar 2020 at 5:22 pm

The Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said that all schools are to close from Friday afternoon (20 March) until further notice, with some exceptions, in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

But Mr Johnson said that the children of key workers, including doctors and nurses, would be allowed to go to school still to allow the NHS to continue to function.

There were other exceptions too, including “vulnerable” children, and provision would be made, the Prime Minister said, for children who were eligible for free school meals.

The government was working with private schools and nurseries to help this to happen, he said.

Exams in May and June will also be scrapped, the Prime Minister said, although steps would be taken to enable pupils to obtain their qualifications.

Mr Johnson urged parents not to leave their children with elderly relatives such as grandparents.

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson told the House of Commons: “The scientific advice shows that these settings are safe for this small number of children to continue attending.

“But asking others to stay away will just go towards helping us slow the spread of this virus.

“Examples of these key workers include NHS staff, police and delivery drivers who need to be able to go to work.

“Vulnerable children include those who have a social worker and those with educational health and care plans.”

Earlier the death toll was reported to have risen by 32 to 104 and Public Health England said: “As of 9am on (Wednesday) 18 March, 56,221 people have been tested in the UK, of which 53,595 were confirmed negative and 2,626 were confirmed positive.”

The number of cases rose 676 from the total of 1,950 announced yesterday.

The number of confirmed cases in Brighton and Hove totalled nine – a figure revised down two days ago – while the number of cases in East Sussex stood at seven and in West Sussex at ten.

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