While he insisted that schools are safe for children to attend, the premier said the rules will likely get stricter to deal with surging hospitalizations and infection rates. Most schools in England are open, but the government will keep this under review, Johnson said on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show on Sunday.
“It may be that we need to do things in the next few weeks that are tougher in many parts of the country,” he said. “The UK is grappling with a new variant of the virus which is surging particularly in London and the southeast and that’s why we’ve had to take exceptional measures for some parts.”
The government is under pressure to close schools and teaching unions have urged officials to transition students to remote learning. In London, which has one of the country’s highest levels of Covid-19 infections per capita, the government has ordered all primary schools to remain closed for the start of the new term this week.
“There’s no doubt in my mind that schools are safe and education is a priority,” Johnson said. “We’ve got to keep things under constant review, but we will be driven not by any political considerations, but entirely by the public health question.”
When asked about the UK’s plans for mass vaccinations, Johnson didn’t offer any detail about how the country would be able to deliver 2 million vaccines a week.
“Everybody’s working flat out to do this,” he said. “We do hope that we will be able to do tens of millions in the course of the next three months.”