Johnson tries to reassure parents of school safety as virus rates soar

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson insisted most primary schools were safe to open on January 4, after the Christmas holidays.

His remarks came despite demands from the influential independent Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies for an immediate national lockdown to prevent the health service being overwhelmed.

Evidence from two European studies on COVID-19 transmission among primary age children has shown them to spread the virus less than adults and to be in more danger of contagion from adults than fellow children – although researchers do not yet have sufficient data to fully assess the impact of the new UK virus variant, and which is feared to be spreading quickly among under-20s.

Pressure is mounting on the government to keep all schools closed. The National Association of Headteachers started preliminary legal proceedings against the Department for Education, asking it to share its scientific data about safety and transmission rates.

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