By Sally Underwood • 12 February 2021 • 10:26
Boris Johnson: The prime minister has stood by his commitment to get children back into schools. Image: Wikimedia
Despite pressure from pressure from SAGE scientists, Boris Johnson has reportedly told his ministers he is committed to making sure children will be back in school from March 8.
The move came after two top scientists announced gloomy forecasts over the UK’s chances of lifting Covid restricions, leaving Conservative MPs concerned experts were “moving the goalposts.”
Sir Jeremy Farrar, who sits on a committee of scientists that advise the PM, said Covid infections must come down from their current 750,000 to just 9,000 “before we can think about lifting restrictions”.
Meanwhile, Prof John Edmunds, who sits on the same committee, said opening schools could push the R rate above 1, and some restrictions will be needed until Christmas.
However, sources close to the Prime Minister have slammed the claims, with one insider telling media, “nothing in the PM’s goal has changed. We will be studying the data next week and fingers crossed it will allow us to proceed as the PM has set out.”
Vaccines Minister Nadhim Zahawi also said he hoped the UK’s vaccination programme would allow schools to reopen from March 8.
He said: “Part of the reason that we took a difficult position to close schools was because of the household interaction that would take place, because families mix when they are picking up the children or dropping the children off at school.
“We want to be really careful to make sure that we do it and do it in a sustainable way.”
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