Many secondary schools will have a phased return during the week, allowing pupils to take Covid tests and face masks will be worn in classrooms, while most primary schools are expected to open for all pupils from Monday.
Meanwhile, NHS chiefs have warned that they will have to start cutting patient care unless chancellor Rishi Sunak finds £8 billion this week for extra Covid-19 costs, the Times reports. Hospitals have accused Mr Sunak of “robbing NHS budgets” by refusing to meet the full cost of treating 8,021 coronavirus patients in hospitals at present following ministers 1 per cent pay rise offer to frontline staff.
2.4 million jabs administered to Londoners between December 8 and March 7
NHS England data shows a total of 2,402,084 jabs were given to people in London between December 8 and March 7, including 2,293,359 first doses and 108,725 second doses.
This compares with 3,713,728 first doses and 142,395 second doses given to people in the Midlands, a total of 3,856,123.
The breakdown for the other regions is:
East of England – 2,242,216 first doses and 96,534 second doses, making 2,338,750 in total
North East and Yorkshire – 2,932,876 first and 121,687 second doses (3,054,563)
North West – 2,491,910 first and 97,548 second doses (2,589,458)
South East – 3,071,212 first and 133,376 second doses (3,204,588)
South West – 2,174,185 first and 96,302 second doses (2,270,487)
India reports over 18,000 new Covid-19 cases for third consecutive day
India has reported over 18,000 new Covid-19 cases for the third consecutive day, with localised outbreaks in eight states.
Maharashtra, home to India’s commercial capital of Mumbai, reported its highest number of new cases on Sunday since October and the authorities are considering whether to re-implement lockdown measures.
More than 60 districts across New Delhi, Haryana, Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, and Goa also “continue to be of concern”, according to the Indian Government.
A further 101 Covid-19 hospital deaths
A further 101 people who tested positive for coronavirus have died in hospital in England, bringing the total number of confirmed deaths reported in hospitals to 84,467, NHS England said on Monday.
Patients were aged between 38 and 96. All except five, aged between 54 and 95, had known underlying health conditions.
The deaths were between January 5 and March 7, with the majority being on or after March 3.
There were 13 other deaths reported with no positive Covid-19 test result.
19,812,818 Covid-19 vaccinations administered in England between December 8 and March 7
A total of 19,812,818 Covid-19 vaccinations took place in England between December 8 and March 7, according to provisional NHS England data, including first and second doses, which is a rise of 149,241 on the previous day’s figures.
Of this number, 19,015,497 were the first dose of a vaccine, a rise of 140,108 on the previous day, while 797,321 were a second dose, an increase of 9,133.
If they test negative in the follow-up, then they will be able to return to class rather than spend 10 days in isolation, Downing Street said.
Liverpool school considering sanctions for children who don’t wear face masks
A Liverpool secondary school has said it is considering sanctions for children who do not wear a face mask as pupils begin a staggered return to the classroom.
The school is instructing all children to wear face coverings, and headteacher Gareth Jones said there would be discussions with pupils and parents on how to enforce the rule.
He said: “We cannot exclude a child for not wearing a face mask, so we are looking at sanctions and will be discussing with both the parents and the children on how best to proceed”.
The Government has decided against making the use of face coverings mandatory due to pupil anxiety.
But the Department for Education (DfE) is advising secondary school and college students to wear them wherever social distancing cannot be maintained, including in the classroom.
Mr Jones praised parents for their support of the reopening process and said the school had a 70% consent rate from parents for their children to undertake mass testing.
After taking her first test at school, Marjane Benjoub, a year 11 student, said: “It tickles in the worst way possible and it is not a very nice feeling to be honest.
“But it is pretty simple to do, and I would rather do it than have any of the risks of not doing it.”
Hannah Buckley-Dunn, another year 11 pupil, said: “It’s worth it. It gives people a safe feeling to go home”.
Shadow schools minister criticises Government for confused messaging about Covid-19 testing in schools
Shadow schools minister Wes Streeting criticised the Government for confused messaging about Covid testing in schools.
Quoting a tweet which cited an apparent error from children’s minister Vicky Ford about the correct protocol, he wrote: “What hope is there for schools, parents and pupils when ministers in the DFE can’t get their basic facts right.
“Is there a single day or a single announcement or a single initiative that Gavin Williamson’s bungling team have managed to get through unscathed? Worse than useless”.
Dr Jenny Harries will join Boris for 4pm Press Conference
Deputy chief medical officer for England Dr Jenny Harries will join Prime Minister Boris Johnson at the Downing Street press conference at 4pm, No 10 has said.
No new deaths in Wales
Wales did not have any new coronavirus-related deaths to report today.
There are 164 further infections, down on the 193 recorded last Monday.
Traffic across London increases as school kids return by car
Traffic levels soared in cities across England as schools and colleges reopened, indicating that many children are avoiding public transport.
The level of congestion on London’s roads at 8am on Monday was 53%, compared with 34% at the same time last week, according to location technology firm TomTom.
Other cities suffering an increase in traffic jams include Birmingham (from 29% to 33%), Leicester (from 26% to 41%), Liverpool (from 35% to 39%) and Manchester (from 25% to 45%).
Congestion levels represent the proportion of additional time required for journeys compared with free-flow conditions.
The figures also indicate that Monday’s hold-ups were worse than on September 2 last year, which was the first day back at school for many pupils after the first national coronavirus lockdown.