Boris Johnson announces Covid press conference: What the Prime Minister is expected to say
Prime Minister Boris Johnson will hold a Downing Street press conference later on Monday, No 10 has said.
The Prime Minister is expected to talk about the return of schools across the country as theywelcome back students for the first time since January.
Millions of children are returning to the classroom for the first time since December as coronavirus restrictions in England begin to ease.
Under the first phase of the Government’s road map out of lockdown, visits to care homes are also resuming from Monday – under strictly controlled conditions.
And the rules around meeting another household have been loosened to allow people to leave home to meet one other person outdoors for a coffee or picnic.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said that although it is “only a small relaxation of the rules”, the changes will bring “joy and relief” to families after months of “tough restrictions”.
One scientist advising the Government acknowledged it is “inevitable” there will be an increase in the numbers of cases as schools go back.
Professor Calum Semple, a member of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage), said a small rise in the R number – representing the reproduction rate of the virus – is less important than the absolute numbers being admitted to hospital and intensive care.
Ministers believe the rollout of the Covid-19 vaccinations should break the link between case numbers and hospital admissions and deaths as more and more people are protected from the disease.
Prof Semple said schools are “absolutely” safe for children to return to as surveys showed that even secondary school pupils are far less likely to contract the disease or transmit it than adults.
He said the main risks come from the increased contacts among adults which will inevitably follow.
“The main driver is not the pupil-teacher relationship,” he told BBC Breakfast.
“When we talk about schools, it is the fact that the school brings adults together, whether that’s teaching staff, the domestic staff, the catering staff, and it’s an opportunity for mixing.”
He said the advice for teachers is to wear face masks, while being “really careful” in the common room.
“Their colleagues are more of a risk to them than the children,” he said.