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Andrew Marr challenged the Labour Party’s position on schools’ safety measures amid a growing number of COVID-19 cases among pupils and university students. Party leader Sir Keir Starmer earlier this week insisted it was a “known risk” infections would spike as he criticised the Government’s strategy on schools reopening. The BBC host quizzed shadow Health Secretary Jonathan Ashoworth on the issue: “Let’s talk about schools because I’m genuinely confused here.
“Keir Starmer said on Thursday, ‘it was an inevitable risk that when we got our children back into school and our students back at university the infection rate might go up. That was a known risk.’
“So why, at the time, did he say, ‘I expect them back in school, no ifs no buts, no equivocation?’
“You were trying to have your cake and eat it.”
Mr Ashworth defended his party’s position, replying: “No, no, no. No, we’re definitely not. Because within this, you always got to manage different risk.”
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Northumbria University this week confirmed 770 students had to self-isolate in halls after several tested positive to COVID-19.
Eton also confirmed a whole year group had to quarantine because of pupils and members of staff contracting the coronavirus since the reopening in September.
In a statement, the college said: “Acting on the advice of senior health professionals, Eton took the decision to introduce a regular Covid-19 testing cycle for pupils and staff, having carefully assessed the risks of transmission within our specific boarding context.
“In deciding to test, Eton has been determined not to put additional pressure on the NHS.
“Therefore, a contract has been taken out with a private provider and the school is covering all costs.”
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