Covid news — live: Latest updates as ministers accused of ‘reckless’ attitude to schools


A union chief has accused ministers of having a “reckless” attitude towards schools during the coronavirus crisis after the government announced a U-turn on the closure of schools in London.

The National Education Union‘s joint general secretary Dr Mary Bousted said the government had led England’s schools into “chaos” over plans to get children back into classrooms in January despite surging Covid-19 cases.

“I find the government’s recklessness in this regard, both with educational professionals’ health, but also with community health, and the questions increasingly around children’s health, inexplicable,” Dr Bousted said.

It came as anger grew over plans to delay giving second doses of a coronavirus vaccine to patients in order to give as many people as possible their first dose to provide some protection.

Dr Anthony Fauci, the top US infectious disease expert, said his country would not follow the UK’s strategy and would instead follow BioNTech/Pfizer’s guidance to administer the second dose of its vaccine three weeks after the first.

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The opposition party has warned that the government’s eviction ban will come to an end on 11 January, while 29 January will see the deadline for self-employed people to access grants.

Our policy correspondent, Jon Stone, has the full story below:

Conrad Duncan2 January 2021 08:58

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Union chief accuses ministers of ‘reckless’ attitude on schools

A union chief has accused ministers of having a “reckless” attitude towards schools during the coronavirus crisis following a U-turn regarding the closure of schools in London this week.

The government confirmed on Friday night that all primary schools in London would remain closed for the start of the new term next week, scrapping plans to allow pupils in some parts of the capital to return on Monday.

The National Education Union’s joint general secretary Dr Mary Bousted told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “What the government should be doing is what the governments in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are doing.

“You don’t get this chaos in the other countries of the United Kingdom.

“And does the government really believe that somehow Covid in England is different than the other countries of the UK?”

Dr Bousted added: “I find the government’s recklessness in this regard, both with educational professionals’ health, but also with community health, and the questions increasingly around children’s health, inexplicable.”

Conrad Duncan2 January 2021 08:52

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Hello and welcome to The Independent’s live coverage of the coronavirus pandemic today.

Conrad Duncan2 January 2021 08:44



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