Great Britain

Coronavirus news UK – Boris Johnson says schools ‘ready’ for return amid fears of Covid cases spike and mask chaos

BORIS Johnson says he believes schools are “ready” for kids returning to classrooms as they prepare to open for the first time this year.

During a visit to North London, the PM said: “Tomorrow, on March 8, is the big step on the road map that we hope is a road map to freedom.

“It is made possible by the rollout of the vaccination programme."

Gavin Williamson admitted Sunday morning that ministers are "looking at" a longer school day and shorter holidays to make up for lost education due to the pandemic.

It comes as Covid deaths in the UK have fallen to 82 – the first time the number has dropped below 100 since October.

A further 5,177 Brits have been diagnosed with the infection in the past 24 hours – the lowest rate since the autumn.

The recorded deaths figures are usually lower on Sundays due to a lag in reporting over the weekend.

And this week, Brits aged between 56 and 59 have been invited to receive their coronavirus vaccine as the rollout goes from strength to strength.

Follow our coronavirus live blog below for the very latest news and updates on the pandemic

  • SCHOOLS RETURN AND CARE HOME VISITS PERMITTED AS LOCKDOWN EASED IN ENGLAND

    Pupils will return to schools and loved ones will be able to visit care home residents in person as part of the first phase of lockdown easing in England.

    Boris Johnson said he hoped Monday's tentative softening of restrictions marked a "big step" on his "road map to freedom" - a plan which could see all Covid measures lifted by June 21.

    As well as pupils returning to classrooms for the first time in at least two months, the rules around meeting with a person from another household outdoors will be loosened to permit recreation and not just exercise.

    While the "stay at home" message will remain in place, it means people can leave home to meet one other person for a coffee or picnic.

    The Prime Minister, in comments made to the Daily Telegraph, said that even though it was "only a small relaxation of the rules", this week's changes would bring "joy and relief" to families after months of "tough restrictions".

  • RAIL SERVICES RAMPED UP AS SCHOOLS REOPEN

    Train services have been ramped up as schools and colleges reopen across England on Monday.

    Operators boosting their capacity through extra and longer trains include Great Western Railway (GWR), Greater Anglia, Southeastern, West Midlands Trains and TransPennine Express (TPE).

    Other measures include extra staff providing guidance to passengers at key stations, and enhanced onboard cleaning regimes to limit the spread of coronavirus.

    Children aged 11 and over are required by law to wear face coverings on public transport in England unless they are exempt.

    Rail timetables were reduced when the third national lockdown was introduced in January.

  • SCHOOL CLOSURES NEGATIVELY AFFECTED CHILDREN'S MENTAL HEALTH, RESEARCH SUGGESTS

    Children's mental health was negatively affected by school closures last year, new research suggests.

    Experts say they found a "significant rise in emotional and behavioural difficulties" among primary school pupils after the spring and summer school closures in 2020.

    They suggest any potentially negative impacts of the current round of education shutdowns are likely to continue after the Easter holidays and into next term as schools in England go back on Monday.

    The study was led by researchers at the Universities of Essex, Surrey and Birmingham and was funded by the Nuffield Foundation charitable trust.

    It tracked children's mental health and how it changed over the past three years using data from household longitudinal study Understanding Society and its linked Covid-19 survey.

  • UK COVID DEATHS BELOW 100 FOR FIRST TIME SINCE OCTOBER

    The number of daily Covid deaths has fallen to 82, the first time the number has dropped below 100 since October.

    The daily death toll plunged 44 per cent of last Sunday's figure of 144 in the latest sign the Covid vaccine rollout is reducing fatalities.

    Daily death tolls are lower than average on Sundays due to a lag in reporting fatalities over the weekend.

    It comes as further 5,177 Brits have been diagnosed with the infection in the past 24 hours - the lowest rate since the autumn.

    It's also a drop of 14 per cent on last Sunday, when 6,035 tested positive.

  • SCHOOLS COULD SHUT IF NOT ENOUGH KIDS WEAR MASKS

    Schools could be forced to shut again if not enough pupils wear face masks as they return to class tomorrow, parents have been warned.

    While there is no legal power to enforce it, guidance from the Government states that masks should be worn by students - as well as teaching and support staff - while indoors.

    Now, Geoff Barton - general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders - has revealed a letter has been issued to secondary heads who are a member of the union to send to parents who raise objections about their child wearing a mask.

    It states that too many pupils refuse to wear a face covering it could create "ramifications" for the school's insurance, reports the Telegraph.

    It reads: "Wearing a face covering is one of the recommended measures schools are being asked to take to get the risk of infection to an acceptable level to enable them to remain open."

  • EU BEGS JOE BIDEN TO SEND MILLIONS OF ASTRAZENECA VACCINE DOSES AS IT PLAYS CATCH UP WITH THE UK

    THe EU is pleading with Joe Biden to send millions of doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine as it desperately plays catch up with the UK.

    It now plans to discuss its worrying shortfall of supplies during talks with the US to boost collaboration in the fight against Covid-19. 

    Read more here.

  • OXFORD VACCINE HEAD WARNS RETURN OF SCHOOLS WILL SPARK RISE IN COVID CASES

    Children returning to school is "absolutely necessary" but will inevitably lead to an increase in coronavirus infections, according to the head of the Oxford vaccine team.

    The university's Professor of vaccinology, Sarah Gilbert, explained that despite the continually falling cases across the country, it would be reckless to be "too optimistic".

    It comes as thousands of students finally return to classrooms tomorrow for the first time since January.

    The highly-anticipated return to education centres has been shrouded by fears it will send the R rate rocketing again, as Gilbert suggested.

    "We’ve got kids going back to schools, and that’s absolutely necessary. But there may well be a slight increase in transmissions as a result of it. But if we can get the transmission rate down really low, then then we can cope with a small increase," she explained to iNews.

    Read more here.

  • SIR KEIR STARMER: GOVERNMENT HAS TREATED CHILDREN AS AN 'AFTERTHOUGHT' DURING PANDEMIC

    Sir Keir said: "The Government has treated our children as an afterthought throughout this pandemic and now they are being forgotten in our recovery.

    "I am announcing our Bright Future Taskforce to ensure every child can recover from the impacts of the pandemic and every child is able to reach their potential.

    "Labour wants to see our children's recovery at the heart of efforts to rebuild our country so we can make Britain the best place to grow up in."

  • SUN CELEBRATES INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY BY HAILING HEROINES WHO HELPED BRITAIN BEAT COVID

    TODAY is International Women’s Day – a chance to celebrate female achievements and to challenge and call out gender bias and inequality across the globe.

    With our #riseupandshine campaign, The Sun is celebrating the women who have risen to the challenge in a very difficult past year.

    Read on for more info here.

  • PARENTS BRACED FOR CHILDREN RETURNING TO SCHOOL FROM MONDAY

    Parents are feeling a mixture of anxiety and relief as schools across the country prepare to welcome back children to class for the first time since early January.

    All youngsters in secondary schools, as well as teachers and support staff, are advised to wear masks from tomorrow.

    The coverings should stay on in classes, as well as during breaks and when children pack up to leave school grounds.

    No requirement is in place for primary schools, although teachers have been advised to wear masks “where possible”.

    However, education chiefs say they hope the measure will be gone by the summer term.

  • BORIS JOHNSON: SCHOOLS ARE 'READY' FOR RETURN TO CLASSROOMS

    Boris Johnson said he thought schools were “ready” and that people wanted to go back to classrooms.

    “Tomorrow, on March 8, is the big step on the road map that we hope is a road map to freedom,” the Prime Minister said on a visit to a north London vaccination centre.

    “It is made possible by the rollout of the vaccination programme.

    “I’m very hopeful that it will work, it will all go according to plan and that all kids, all pupils, will be back in schools tomorrow.

    “I’m massively grateful to parents who have put up with so much throughout the pandemic and teachers who have done an amazing job of keeping going.”

  • LABOUR CALLS FOR SCHOOL BREAKFAST CLUBS TO HELP PUPILS CATCH UP

    Labour is calling for catch-up breakfast clubs before school to help children recover from 109 days of lost face-to-face learning.

    The push comes as leader Sir Keir Starmer and shadow education secretary Kate Green prepare to kick-start a "Bright Future Taskforce" on Monday during a visit to a school in Dagenham, east London.

    According to the party, the taskforce will deliver a long-term strategy for children's recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.

    Marking the day that schools reopen fully in England, Labour said its analysis of Government data indicated that children have each lost an average of 109 face-to-face school days since the first lockdown in March 2020.

    Labour said breakfast clubs would help make up for this lost time.

  • WATCH: EMOTIONAL VIDEO CELEBRATES TIRELESS EFFORTS OF FEMALE FRONTLINE PANDEMIC HEROES

    Emotional video celebrates tireless efforts of female frontline pandemic heroes
  • UK 'MUST PREPARE FOR HARD WINTER OF FLU' AS COVID PANDEMIC LEAVES BRITS WITH LOWER IMMUNITY

    BRITS have been warned to prepare for a "hard winter" battling the return of respiratory viruses, amid fears the population's immunity has drastically decreased.

    Public Health England's Dr. Susan Hopkins said the UK is likely to see "surges in flu" and other viruses, because public health measures taken to tackle Covid mean fewer of us will be immune this year.

    The top government advisor warned we must be "better prepared" than last autumn when the new, faster-spreading variants of the virus began circulating.

    Dr. Hopkins, who heads the Public Health England pandemic strategy, told the BBC's 'The Andrew Marr Show' how Social distancing, hand-washing, and lockdowns mean the public will be vulnerable to other types of illness.

    "I think we have to prepare for a hard winter, not only with coronavirus, but we've had a year of almost no respiratory viruses of any other type," she said. "And that means, potentially the population immunity to that is less."

    Read more here.

  • RANGERS' TRIUMPH DOES NOT JUSTIFY BREAKING COVID RULES, SAYS DUP MP

    A long-awaited Scottish Premiership title for Rangers "does not justify the breaking of coronavirus regulations", a DUP MP has warned.

    Gregory Campbell was speaking after a large crowd gathered on Belfast's Shankill Road to celebrate the Glasgow side's first title in a decade.

    The fans came out despite a ban on public gatherings under coronavirus restrictions.

    Northern Ireland has been living under a strict raft of rules aimed at stemming the spread of the virus since a spike of cases in December. Earlier, the PSNI tweeted urging fans to celebrate safely.

    "We would encourage anyone intending to celebrate today's Scottish Premier League result, to do so at home safely and within the current Health Regulations," they tweeted.

  • FRANCE RECORDS MORE THAN 20,000 NEW COVID CASES IN 24 HOURS

    France has reported 21,825 new confirmed COVID-19 cases on Sunday, down from 23,306 on Saturday.

    The Health Ministry reported 130 new COVID-19 deaths, taking the total to 88,574. The number of people in intensive care rose by 54 to 3,743.

  • MASKS SHOULD BE GONE 'BY THE SUMMER' FOR SCHOOLKIDS

    Amanda Spielman, the chief executive of Ofsted, said Brit youngsters are "adaptable and flexible" - but admits she hopes masks and testing will be gone from schools soon.

    She told Sky's Sophy Ridge this morning that parents and children "can cope" with the measure.

    But she added: "I really hope paraphernalia of masks and testing is only for short time.

    "We've been told the face mask guidance will be reviewed at Easter. I love the idea of children being able to come back in the summer term able to see everybody fully."

    Here's the full story.

  • COVID NEWS ROUND UP: WHAT HAPPENED TODAY?

  • THE MIDLANDS REMAINS ENGLAND'S HARDEST HIT COVID REGION

    The Midlands - currently England's hardest-hit region - recorded 30 fatalities, while 23 people died in the North East and Yorkshire, 17 in the South East and seven in the North West.

    In London - previously the epicentre of the second wave - six people lost their lives, while five died in the East and two in the South West.

    Three people died in Northern Ireland, while in Wales, 18 more died.

    Scotland has recorded no new deaths.

  • VIRUS HOPE AS UK COVID DEATHS PLUNGE TO 82 IN FIRST DROP BELOW 100 SINCE OCTOBER

    Covid deaths in the UK have fallen to 82 - the first time the number has dropped below 100 since October.

    It comes as further 5,177 Brits have been diagnosed with the infection in the past 24 hours - the lowest rate since the autumn.

    The recorded deaths figures are usually lower on Sundays due to a lag in reporting over the weekend.

    Lockdown and the UK's jabs roll-out are forcing new cases down - and will raises hopes Brits are past the darkest time of the virus.

    A further 90 people aged between 34 and 97 died in hospitals in England. Three of the patients, who were aged between 54 and 87, had no known underlying health condition.

  • STURGEON CONDEMNS 'INFURIATING' SCENES AS RANGERS FANS URGED TO 'GO HOME'

    Nicola Sturgeon has condemned the "infuriating and disgraceful" celebrations in Glasgow as she urged Rangers to ask people to go home.

    Thousands of fans have flouted the coronavirus lockdown to gather in the streets and celebrate Rangers winning the Scottish Premiership - their first top-flight title in 10 years.

    The mass gatherings have been widely condemned, with the First Minister warning that the celebrations could jeopardise plans to ease the coronavirus restrictions.

    Scotland's Justice Secretary and police chiefs have also urged rule-breakers to go home, but the pleas have gone unheeded, with fans packed into George Square and congregating outside Ibrox stadium.

    Shortly after 5pm, Police Scotland said a "small number" of arrests have been made and officers at the scene have been attempting to encourage fans to return home. But by 8pm, the crowds had not dispersed, despite the police herding hundreds of people away from the stadium along Paisley Road West earlier in the evening.

  • FRANCE DONATES 15,000 VACCINE DOSES TO SLOVAKIA

    Slovakia, a country suffering the world's highest mortality rate from Covid-19, has received a donation of 15,000 coronavirus vaccine doses from France, Slovak Prime Minister Igor Matovic said on Sunday.

    Matovic described the Oxford-AstraZeneca doses as a "very kind and useful gift" and a "great gesture of friendship", at a news conference with French Ambassador Christophe Leonzi, local press agency TASR reported.

    Speaking in Bojnice, western Slovakia, the premier added that France had supported the idea of the European Union urgently sending 100,000 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine to Slovakia.

    An EU nation of 5.4 million people, Slovakia has registered an average of 24.09 deaths per 100,000 residents over the past 14 days -- the highest rate in the world.

    The Slovak health ministry on Sunday announced that it had identified the South African strain of Covid-19 in seven samples taken in the country.

  • WATCH: THOUSANDS OF RANGERS FANS CONTINUE TO PARTY IN GLASGOW AS STURGEON WARNS THEM TO GO HOME

    Thousands of Rangers fans continue to party in Glasgow's George Square as Nicola Sturgeon warns them to go home
  • MEXICO: 2,734 NEW COVID CASES AND 246 DEATHS IN LATEST DAILY UPDATE

    Mexico's Health Ministry on Sunday reported 2,734 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the country and 247 additional fatalities.

    Today's update brings the total tally to 2,128,600 infections and 190,604 deaths.

    Health officials have said the real number of infected people and deaths in Mexico is likely significantly higher than the official count because of a lack of wide-scale testing.

Football news:

While you were sleeping, the Super League appeared. The shortest possible retelling
UEFA will soon announce whether the Champions League and Europa League will be completed this season. In social networks there were rumors about the suspension of tournaments
In football revolution-live online 🚨 Super League starts in August, wait for the matches in the middle of the week
FIFA: We can only express our disapproval of the creation of a closed European league
Agnelli left the post of head of the Association of European Clubs. All 12 clubs of the founding clubs of the Super League have also left
The start of the Super League is scheduled for August. 20 clubs, matches in the middle of the week, clubs will be able to play in the national championships
Agnelli resigns as head of the Association of European Clubs. The participants of the Super League scored for an emergency meeting-they supported UEFA