UK NEWS: The UK military is assisting in the Covid-19 exams as Prime Minister faces school pressure

The Department of Defense said 1,500 staff would help ensure that testing programs are effective when classes open in England next week. Earlier, the government had said that students who face the public examinations this year would return on January 4, and some students would return later that month.

The Boris Johnson government will write to armed forces to help with coronavirus testing in schools, as pressure builds on the prime minister to delay students’ return after the holidays amid growing cases.

The Department of Defense said 1,500 staff would help ensure that testing programs are effective when classes open in England next week. Earlier, the government had said that students who face the public examinations this year would return on January 4, and some students would return later that month.

But a growing number of unions, politicians and scientists have called for more time to prepare for disease prevention in schools. The number of new cases in the UK reached a daily record of more than 41,000 on Monday and hospitalization surpassed the record high in the first wave of spring, as the virus continues to spread.

Johnson has made it possible for schools to be more open as they look for ways to kick off the start of the economy after months of restrictions that left it facing the worst recession for 300 years. Ministers have threatened to take legal action to ban home-schooling schools before Christmas, but the government on Tuesday left it open for the post to be changed in the new year.

“We are planning for that volatile opening, but we are keeping all the steps updated as we have done throughout the epidemic,” Johnson’s spokesman Jamie Davies told reporters when asked about the delay. He declined to comment on future policy changes.

Schools should be closed for “a week or two” to make sure the test works, Steve Chalke, founder of the Oasis schools network, told BBC radio on Tuesday. His intervention followed similar calls for a delay in the National Education Union on Monday.

Seeking Time

“We will ask the government to pause and come up with a clear plan for further education,” Chalkke said. “We think that if you really care about the kids you will do well – investing now, giving time now makes sense.”

Roger Gale, a Member of Parliament for the Johnson’s Conservative Party, said schools should remain closed until teachers receive treatment. But Davies said there was no plan to add teachers to the list of high-risk people who get guns in the first round of vaccination.

“Education is important, but so is the health and well-being of teachers,” Gale, a Member of Parliament for North Thanet, tweeted.

Since the defeat of the school closure decision in March, which led to the cancellation of exams and the furore of summer university admissions, ministers have repeatedly said that education must continue even if other social and economic sectors have to close it.

New Genre

But the government’s epidemic strategy has been scrapped in recent weeks with the emergence of a new strain of the virus, which has spread rapidly in London and surrounding areas and has led to many countries blocking immigrants from the UK.

The state-run Scientific Advisory Group for Emergency has told Johnson to keep high schools closed in January and to consider another nationwide closure, Politico reported on Monday, citing a well-informed adviser.

The group says the closure of the same conditions in November may not be enough to control a new strain of the virus, according to the report.

Ministers and officials will meet later on Tuesday to discuss a review of England’s coronavirus tiers, and Health Secretary Matt Hancock will make a statement in Parliament on Wednesday outlining any changes, which could impose severe sanctions on some states.

National restrictions are needed to prevent “catastrophe” earlier this year, a member of a government group advising on new respiratory threats – which he himself advised SAGE – told the BBC on Tuesday.

“We are entering a very dangerous new phase of the epidemic and we will need to take decisive, first, national action to prevent disaster in January and February,” said Andrew Hayward, a professor of communicable diseases at University College London. “The previous level of restrictions that were previously in place will not work now.”

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