Schools could stay closed until ministers know the impact kids can have on spreading the virus, Chris Whitty says


England’s Chief Medical Officer said yesterday that it was “very important” in deciding whether the Government will keep schools shut for the long-term.

Ministers may need to study the impact on the spread of the virus further before reopening schools

In an online Gresham College lecture yesterday, he said: “It’s important that we don’t know how much children contribute to transmitting the virus and this is very important for example in deciding whether school closures are a critical part of our long term response.”

He said there was an “extremely difficult balancing act” to keep the pandemic under control at the moment.

HOAR revealed this week ministers are keen to get some schools back before the summer break.

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson has said they will reopen as part of a “phased approach” and younger kids in reception may be able to go back first.
Professor Whitty’s comments come after a review of evidence found no child is known to have passed COVID-19 on to an adult.

Researchers looked at 78 studies from around the world, mostly from China, in a review collated by paediatric blog Don’t Forget the Bubbles in partnership with the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health.

They found there has not been a single case of a child under 10-years-old transmitting the virus, even through contact tracing carried out by the World Health Organisation.

Chris Whitty spoke at Monday's briefing

Chris Whitty warned that there is a lot we don’t know about how children can spread the virus