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UK News Schools may have to close to older pupils to curb Covid spread, warns scientist

14:55  24 october  2020
14:55  24 october  2020 Source:   msn.com

Britain puts more areas into lockdown as cases rise

  Britain puts more areas into lockdown as cases rise Britain puts more areas into lockdown as cases riseLONDON (Reuters) - Britain put more of northwest England into the highest COVID alert level on Friday in the face of rising case numbers as Prime Minister Boris Johnson bids to contain a second wave of infections through local measures.

Scientists warn it may be years before students can return to school without masks, social distancing. It's unclear how soon the clinical trials needed to vaccinate children against Covid -19 will be Experts say it may take a couple of years before students can resume classes without the risk of

Germany’s top coronavirus expert says children play as big a role as adults in spread .

Ministers may be forced to close schools to older children if coronavirus cases continue to increase at the current rate, a scientist has warned.

a group of people standing in a room: (Jane Barlow/PA) © Jane Barlow (Jane Barlow/PA)

Professor Neil Ferguson, whose modelling led to the original lockdown in March, said the NHS would soon be unable to cope unless the spread of the disease was stemmed.

He said there were currently 8,000 people in hospital with coronavirus – around a third of the peak earlier this year – and that numbers were continuing to rise.

“It is a worrying situation,” he told the BBC Radio 4 Today programme.

“If the rate of growth continues as it is it means that in a month’s time we will above that peak level in March and that is probably unsustainable.

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They are close to each other in schools , but that is not enough” to fuel spread . At the same time Other outbreaks also suggest that elementary school pupils pose a smaller threat than older In a broader study of COVID -19 clusters worldwide, epidemiologist Gwen Knight at the London School of

Pupils get ready for a class at an elementary school in Helsinki in May . But some countries have had dangerous outcomes when reopening schools , albeit for older children. In Israel, bringing students back to the classroom accelerated the spread of Covid -19 among middle and high- school

“We are in a critical time right now. The health system will not be able to cope with this rate of growth for much longer.”

His warning came as South Yorkshire became the latest region to enter the tightest Tier 3 restrictions in England following Liverpool City Region, Greater Manchester and Lancashire.

Prof Ferguson said it would be another week or two before it became clear whether the stricter measures would have an impact on case numbers.

He said the restrictions on households mixing should have a “significant effect”, but added it may not be enough and further action may be needed.

a train driving down the street: Sheffield city centre as South Yorkshire enters Tier 3 (Danny Lawson/PA) © Provided by PA Media Sheffield city centre as South Yorkshire enters Tier 3 (Danny Lawson/PA)

“If we go beyond that there is a limit to what we can do in terms of reducing contacts, short of starting to target, for instance, the older years in schools and sixth form colleges where we know older teenagers are able to transmit as adults.

Chancellor set to unveil more support for businesses in Tier 2 areas

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The COVID -19 pandemic has affected educational systems worldwide, leading to the near-total closures of schools , universities and colleges.

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“Of course, nobody wants to start moving to virtual education and closing schools even partially. The challenge may be that we are not able to get on top of the transmission otherwise.”

Boris Johnson is determined to avoid schools closing again because of the damaging effect on children’s well-being and education.

However Prof Ferguson said that while there has been a slowdown in infections among 18 to 21-year-olds they were continuing to rise in other age groups.

Ministers have said they hope the latest restrictions in England will slow the disease sufficiently to enable families to spend Christmas together.

Prof Ferguson said the Government would have to assess the balance of risks when it came to deciding whether that was possible.

Neil Ferguson wearing a suit and tie: Professor Neil Ferguson (Parliament TV/PA) © Provided by PA Media Professor Neil Ferguson (Parliament TV/PA)

“It risks some transmission and there will be consequences of that. Some people will die because of getting infected on that day,” he said.

Europe faces more curfews, restrictions as virus cases swell

  Europe faces more curfews, restrictions as virus cases swell ROME (AP) — Italy's three largest cities and dozens of regions of France face curfews as authorities try to slow the spread of the coronavirus in Europe, where most countries are now imposing or mulling new restrictions on activity in response to rapidly rising caseloads. A midnight-to-5 a.m. curfew in Italy's Lazio region, which includes Rome, begins on Friday and lasts for 30 days, under an order signed Thursday by regional governor Nicola Zingaretti. He was seriously sickened with COVID-19 when Italy became the first European country overwhelmed by an outbreak early in the pandemic.

With Covid -19 cases rising around the UK, schools are adopting measures to reduce the spread and keep pupils safe. Only 0.2% of schools have had to close completely. If pupils can't come in, schools are expected to have a Older children, such as those in secondary schools , are being

Mobile testing units may be sent to schools which have an outbreak. If a child in school has Covid symptoms they will have to be taken home straight away, and staff waiting If a pupil tests positive, schools will have to send home other pupils who have been in " close contact", which includes those

“But if it is only one or two days the impact is likely to be limited. So that is really a political judgment about the cost versus the benefits.”

The latest figures suggest the number of new daily cases across England doubled in a fortnight – although some scientists have said the rate of spread may be slowing.

The Office for National Statistics infection survey estimated there was an average of 35,200 new cases per day in the community in England between October 10 and 16.

That was up 26% from an estimated 27,900 per day for the period from October 2 to 8 and just over double the 17,200 per day from September 25 to October 1.

chart, line chart, histogram: (PA Graphics) © Provided by PA Media (PA Graphics)

The Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) said the reproduction number, or R value, for the whole of the UK had nudged down to between 1.2 and 1.4. Last week it put the figure at between 1.3 and 1.5.

Meanwhile, talks have been continuing between the Government and local leaders in Nottinghamshire, with parts of the county expected to enter Tier 3 on Wednesday.

The council in Warrington in Cheshire – where many residents commute to Manchester and Liverpool – has confirmed it will be moving to Tier 3 on Thursday. It means households will be banned from mixing except in parks and other open spaces, while pubs and bars will have to close unless they serve meals.

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And England's chief medical officer, Prof Chris Whitty, warned the nation had "probably reached near the limit or the limits" of what can be done to reopen society, meaning trade-offs may be needed to allow pupils to return to classrooms next month as planned.

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Three more areas – Coventry, Stoke and Slough – have moved into Tier 2, the second highest alert level.

Sheffield City Region mayor Dan Jarvis – who secured a £41 million support package for South Yorkshire – said he would not hesitate to ask the Government for more financial assistance if it proved necessary.

“The Government has been committed to level up the country. I think there is a real risk the levelling up agenda will be derailed,” he told the Today programme.

“The North has been hit disproportionately by this pandemic. Instead of a reason to delay levelling up, I think the current crisis is the most powerful argument for getting on with it.”

Britain's Covid-19 deaths rise by 55% in a week, ONS data shows .
An Office for National Statistics report released today showed 761 Brits fell victim to the disease in the week ending October 16. It is the highest weekly death toll since June 19.Office for National Statistics figures showed 761 Brits fell victim to the disease in the week ending October 16, the most recent recording period.

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