Coronavirus: pubs “may have to close” to allow schools to reopen

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Pubs have been allowed to reopen from July 4 in England


Pubs or “other activities” in England may have to close to allow schools to reopen next month, a scientist telling the government has said.

Professor Graham Medley told the BBC that it may be necessary to make a “compromise” with reopening schools seen as “a priority” for the well-being of children.

It came after England’s chief medical officer said the country was “near the limit” of opening up the company.

On Friday, the prime minister said further easing of the lockdown would be delayed.

The measures to come this weekend, including the reopening of casinos, bowling alleys, ice rinks and some local services, as well as the return of indoor shows and pilots of large gatherings in sports venues and centers conference, would be postponed for at least a fortnight, said Boris Johnson.

The expansion of wedding receptions to accommodate up to 30 people has also been suspended.

Mr Johnson said at a press conference in Downing Street on Friday he needed to ‘step on the brake pedal’ to ease restrictions, following an increase in coronavirus cases.

And England’s chief medical officer Professor Chris Whitty has warned the nation has ‘probably reached the limit or the limits’ of what can be done to reopen the company, meaning compromises may be needed. to allow students to return to class next month. planned.

Mr Johnson has previously pledged that primary and secondary schools in England will return in September “with full attendance”.

When asked if restrictions on other activities might be needed to allow schools to reopen as planned, Professor Medley, chair of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) subgroup on pandemic modeling , told BBC Radio 4’s Today program: “I think it’s quite possible.

“I think we are in a situation where most people think that opening schools is a priority for the health and well-being of children and that when we do, we will reconnect many households.

“And so in fact, by shutting down some of the other networks, some of the other activities may well be needed to allow us to open schools.

“It can come down to a question of what tradeoffs are you making against each other, and then it is a question of priority. Do we think pubs are more important than schools? “


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Media captionChris Whitty on easing lockdown: “We’re probably almost at the limit of what we can do”

Professor Medley, an academic at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, said the rise in coronavirus infections appeared to concern young people, but warned there was a danger it could ‘spread’ throughout other parts of the population.

“The age distribution of infections has changed – it has moved to younger age groups and so it is likely that we will not see this increase in hospital admissions linked to the infection the same way we do. did it in March, ”he said.

“But the big fear is that the virus will get out of hand and we will end up in a situation where there are so many viruses that it inevitably spreads to all segments of the population. “

‘Everything is in the air for our wedding reception’

Kirsty Drake is due to tie the knot on August 15 – when the decision to ease the restrictions again is due for reconsideration.

She had finalized plans this week for a small wedding reception, but now the restrictions mean she is unable to continue the rally.

“I’m a little emotional about this today,” she said. “Everything is in the air again. ”

“What I don’t understand is that if I wanted to now I could book six tables in an outside restaurant and sit and have a meal with the same group of people I just met. marry. [socially distance] on the spot anyway.

“In our situation, it would be safer to have a meal at the place where we are to be married. “

This week, new restrictions were announced for residents of parts of northern England after an increase in cases of the virus.

New foreclosure rules have been introduced in areas such as Greater Manchester, eastern Lancashire and parts of West Yorkshire. The rules include a ban on separated households from meeting inside their homes and private gardens.

The restrictions also prohibit members of two different households from mingling in pubs, restaurants and other hospitality venues, but these businesses will remain open to those visiting individually or from the same household.

In addition, face masks will be mandatory in more indoor environments in England, such as cinemas, with the new rules being applicable in law from August 8.

Figures released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) on Friday suggest infection rates in England are increasing, with around 4,200 new infections per day – up from 3,200 a week ago. However, the level of infection is still significantly lower than it was at the height of the pandemic.

Another 120 people have died with Covid-19 in the UK after testing positive for the virus, according to the latest government figures, bringing the total number of virus deaths to 46,119. Meanwhile, 880 new laboratory-confirmed cases have been recorded – the highest in more than a month.

Meanwhile, more than two million people protecting themselves against the coronavirus across most of England, Scotland and Northern Ireland can now leave their homes and return to work.

However, Macmillan Cancer Support said people in the protected group don’t feel safe enough to leave their homes and have to “make the impossible choice” between their health and their jobs.

It comes as companies that hired staff during the pandemic must now start contributing to the government’s job retention program.

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