U.K. Government Tells London’s Primary Schools to Stay Closed

The U.K. government ordered all primary schools in London to remain closed for the start of the new term next week in an attempt to rein in a jump in hospitalizations resulting from the mutant strain of the coronavirus.

From Monday, the capital’s primary schools -- for children from 5 to 11 years -- will have to provide remote learning for most pupils. Vulnerable children and those whose guardians are key workers will continue to attend school. Pre-schools will remain open, the government said Friday.

The government had originally omitted 10 London areas from a list of schools that would be closed, but yielded after local authorities complained to Education Secretary Gavin Williamson. London mayor Sadiq Khan welcomed the government’s change of heart.

London has one of the country’s highest levels of Covid-19 infections per capita -- in the most recent week of complete data, the capital had a rate of 807 cases per 100,000 people, compared with a rate of 675 in the previous week.

“The situation in London continues to worsen and so today we are taking action to protect the public and reduce the spread of this disease in the community,” Health Secretary Matt Hancock said in the statement.

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