Fears schools face being ‘shut until Easter’ as UK has highest Covid death rate

Schools are feared to be at risk of being closed until Easter, according to reports.

They are currently shut to most pupils during the country’s third national lockdown.

No date has been set for they will reopen.

But there are now growing concerns they will remain that way until after the Easter holidays in April, the Sun reports.

Boris Johnson has previously pledged that schools will be the first to reopen after lockdown.

The Prime Minister told MPs he would be "extremely cautious" about a date.

According to the Sun, schools in coronavirus hotspots could also remain shut longer than in areas which aren’t as badly hit.

They were closed earlier this month due to the rise in Covid-19 cases.

Susan Hopkins, a senior medical adviser at Public Health England, said on Monday it is too hard to set a date for when they can reopen.

She told a Downing Street press conference: "We've always said schools should be the last to close and first to open but I think giving a more defined date than that is very difficult until we see what happens over the next few weeks."

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab suggested the latest lockdown could start being eased in March.

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The country might be in a position to return to the old tiered system in March, he said.

It comes as figures collected by Oxford University research programme Our World in Data show the UK has the highest per capita rate of deaths.

There were 935 daily deaths on average over the last week – the equivalent of more than 16 people in every million dying each day from Covid, the Independent reports.

The UK was pushed into the top spot, overtaking the Czech Republic, on Sunday.

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Mr Johnson has warned the UK is still in a "pretty precarious" position.

He said the process of easing lockdown would be gradual, with no great "open sesame" moment when curbs on freedoms are suddenly lifted.

A further 599 Covid deaths were recorded in the UK on Monday, taking the overall death toll to 89,860.

There were also 37,535 further cases reported.

Figures show more than 4million people have now received the first dose of a Covid-19 vaccine.

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